M A I N   N E W S

Petro Min wants Rs 10 hike
Bhagyashree Pande
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
While the hike in petrol and diesel prices seems inevitable, the petroleum ministry is seeking a hike of Rs 10 per litre for petrol and Rs 5 per litre for diesel, in addition to slashing customs and excise duties to offset the impact of surge in crude oil prices, which have touched $135 per barrel.

“The situation is getting to be alarming and we need to stem the rot in the beginning,” petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan said after a stock-taking meeting with the heads of IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum today.

However, the petroleum minister clarified that the meeting with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening was to apprise him of the situation of the oil companies. “We are trying to see that some action is taken immediately, price hike is inevitable,” said Deora though he did not commit on pushing for petrol and diesel price increase or the quantum of the increase.

Meanwhile, the Left parties have said that they are opposed to any price hike in petrol and its products.

Pressing the point that the hike was inevitable, oil secretary said “we expect a decision in the matter in 3-4 days time”. The oil ministry has sought lowering of customs duty on crude oil from 5 per cent to zero and on petrol and diesel from 7.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Besides, the ministry is seeking a cut on excise duty on petrol and diesel, which is Rs 14.35 per litre and Rs 4.60 per litre, respectively.

This demand is to lower the burden of under recoveries that are likely to be around Rs 2,00,000 crore in 2008-09, on artificially low retail selling price of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene. In Delhi, petrol sells at Rs 45.52 per litre, diesel at Rs 31.76 per litre, kerosene at Rs 9 per litre and LPG cylinder at Rs 294.75.

Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices have been raised marginally by 3-5 paise per litre effective midnight after the government decided to hike the commission paid to dealers for the sale of fuel, an IndianOil Corporation official said.



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