An Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet early next month to decide on freeing petrol and diesel prices from government control.

The ministerial panel will also consider ways to deal with revenue losses on selling domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.

“The EGoM is likely to meet in the first week of June, either on June 4 or 5 to consider changes in the existing petroleum pricing mechanism,” a senior petroleum ministry official said.

The government-appointed Kirit Parikh Committee report on petroleum prices has recommended deregulation of petrol and diesel and a partial increase in domestic LPG and kerosene prices.

Besides Mr. Mukherjee, the EGoM also includes Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Chemical and Fertiliser Minister M.K. Alagiri, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

In the first fortnight of the current month, the three Oil Marketing Companies, IOC, HPCL and BPCL, were losing Rs. 272.5 crore per day on selling fuel below cost. If they continue to sell fuel at this rate, they may end the current fiscal with a loss of Rs. 90,150 crore in revenues.

The companies sell petrol at a loss of Rs. 6.63 a litre, diesel at a loss of Rs. 6.25 per litre, kerosene at Rs. 19.74 per litre and domestic LPG at Rs. 254.37 per cylinder.

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