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Updated: June 7, 2010 15:20 IST

Deora discusses fuel price issue with Manmohan

Sujay Mehdudia
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The Empowered Group of Ministers on fuel prices will meet on Monday amid demands from Opposition parties for a rollback in prices. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
The Empowered Group of Ministers on fuel prices will meet on Monday amid demands from Opposition parties for a rollback in prices. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Moving one step forward in introducing a “free fuel pricing regime'' and raising of fuel prices, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed fuel price hike as well as decontrol of petroleum products.

The meeting comes 48 hours before the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is scheduled to meet on Monday.

“We will protect the interests of the consumers and the common man. We will ensure that the ‘aam aadmi' is protected and the government will keep a watch on the working of the private as well as public sector undertaking companies in case of decontrol. We will ensure that they will get the right fuel at the right time and at right price,'' Mr. Deora told The Hindu after meeting the Prime Minister.

The Minister generally spends his weekends in Mumbai, but decided to stay back to hold discussions with the Prime Minister, senior officials and political heads. He is scheduled to meet the Mr. Mukherjee on Sunday.

Mr. Mukherjee is away in Busan for the G-20 ministers meeting and will be back here on Sunday morning.

At his half-an-hour meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Deora is understood to have discussed the decontrol of diesel and petrol as envisaged in the Kirit Parikh panel report.

Bleeding of OMCs

It is learnt that the Prime Minister expressed concern over the “bleeding” of the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and the losses incurred by them.

The rising oil import bill and the issue of increasing the reach of LPG connections in order to reduce the consumption of highly subsidised kerosene also came up for discussion.

The Finance Minister and his officials have asked the Petroleum Ministry to take a call on decontrol of petrol and diesel in order to reduce the increasing subsidy bill.

Faced with a whopping loss of nearly Rs. 20,000 crore by the OMCs – the Indian Oil Corporation, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited – in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the government has made up its mind to decontrol petrol and diesel.

However, it is yet to take a call on increasing the prices of the LPG cylinder and the subsidised kerosene that hardly reaches the targeted group and often finds its way into the black market.

The EGoM is scheduled to meet on June 7 to consider the Parikh panel report. The fall in global oil prices has made the task of the government easier. International crude oil prices have been hovering around $70-72 a barrel.

EGoM members

Besides Mr. Mukherjee, the EGoM includes Mr. Deora, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister M.K. Alagiri, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Surface Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

According to its terms of reference, the EGoM is to consider a pricing policy for petrol and diesel, including decontrol.

Mr. Deora said the EGoM also had to decide on ways to bridge the deficit between the imported rate and retail price of LPG and kerosene.

THE PEOPLE WOULDNOT LOSE ANY THING IF THE PRICES WOULD BE DECONTROLLED BUT THEY WOULD EARN THE 70,000 LOSSES WHICH IS BEING LOOTED BY THE MIDDLEMAN.THE LPG IS BEING MISUSED BY HOTELS,RESATURANTS AND STALLS.KEROSENE OIL IS BEING ADULTERATED WITH PETROL AND DIESEL RAMPANTLY AS 50% OF THE STOCKS OF kEROSNE IS NOT LIFTED BY THE USER.THE RATION CARD HOLDERS ARE NOT LIFTING THEIR KEROSENE AND THE VERY STOCK IS SOLD IN BLACKMARKET BY RETAILER TO PETROLPUMPS IN HIGH PRICES.SO IT IS INDIAN GOVT ITSELF IT RECOMMENDING ADULTERTAION OF KEROSENOIL WITH PETROL AND DIESEL WHCIH IS EARNING LAKHS OF CRORES TO PETROL PUMPS AND RETAILERS OF KEROSENE.BUT OUR GOVT HAS NO REPLIES NOR ANY ANSWER ON THAT MATTER.

from:  muslim bhagawat
Posted on: Jun 6, 2010 at 18:21 IST

OMCs are loosing Rs.20000 crore for providing subsidies but GOI is earning more than Rs. 50000 crore through imposing tax. what's a fallacious reason to hike petro-price ?

from:  Rabin Banerjee
Posted on: Jun 6, 2010 at 06:52 IST

Is this a way to control prices? If this happens anyone can create a false demand in the market and the prices will shoot up.

from:  Mamta
Posted on: Jun 6, 2010 at 01:18 IST
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