No Government Role in Petrol Price Hike, says Pranab

Kolkata, May 15 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said the government had no role to play in the latest petrol price hike as the prices had been deregulated but virtually stood by the oil marketing companies' decision, saying the crude rates have gone up by $42 per barrel in the last 11 months.

"In June last year we had taken the decision to decontrol and deregulate petrol prices. So nowadays, the decision to raise or reduce the petrol prices is not taken by the government. This decision is taken by the oil marketing companies," Mukherjee told
mediapersons here.

In its steepest hike so far, the price of petrol was raised by Rs.5 per litre - an over 8 percent increase - from Saturday midnight.

The minister said when the decision to deregulate the prices was taken last June, crude prices were $68 in the international market. "But now the rates have shot up to $110."

Regarding a possible enhancement of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene prices, Mukherjee said: "I cannot say what the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on fuel prices will decide". Mukherjee is the chairman of the EGoM, which is slated to meet next week, to consider a proposal to raise the prices.

He said the government was giving Rs 1 lakh crore as oil subsidy.

In June last year, the government had allowed oil companies to set the price of petrol as per the market situation, following which they had raised the price of petrol by Rs.3 per litre.

Then, another substantial price rise took place in December 2010, when companies had hiked the price by another Rs.3 per litre.

Again in January, the oil companies had raised the price by two to four percent.

Thus, in the last nine months, the price of petrol has increased from Rs.47.93 per litre to Rs.63.37 - through nine revisions.


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Title: No Government Role in Petrol Price Hike, says Pranab

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