Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri on Friday expressed his concern and his party, the DMK's reservations about the move to effect a steep increase in the prices of petroleum products.

People were already hit by inflation and any further increase would hit their purchasing power, he said in his speech at the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers here.

“Market-determined pricing for petrol and diesel means there is likely to be a sharp increase with immediate effect. The decision will result in an additional burden to the public as the proposed increase is very high. This will have an adverse effect on the general price level, pushing up inflation further. The proposed increase in the retail selling price of PDS kerosene is also very high. As the bulk of kerosene consumers are poor households, a sudden rise in price will hit them hard.”

Mr. Alagiri said: “The next proposal is to increase the price of domestic LPG, in the first stage and thereafter discontinue the subsidy for all consumers, except BPL households. Domestic LPG is used as fuel by a large number of lower middle income families as well. They have been already affected by inflation. Therefore, any further increase will hit their purchasing power adversely.”

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