‘Government will provide cushion for common man'
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada has allayed fears of an abnormal increase in the prices of petrol and diesel.
He said the government would step in to provide a cushion to the common man.
After the decontrol of petroleum commodities, the oil marketing companies were free to fix the prices, which depended on crude oil prices. But the companies would not be allowed to hold monopoly over price fixation.
Mr. Prasada said though the prices depended on the prices of crude in the international market, the “government does not want to increase the financial burden of the common man.”
Petrol was decontrolled to enable the oil companies to tide over their losses. It was also not used by poor people. “Petrol consumption went up by 14 per cent after it was decontrolled a couple of months ago,” he said.
While a seven per cent increase was attributed to new cars and vehicles, another seven per cent was consumed by those who had vehicles, Mr. Prasada told journalists here on Sunday.
The Ministry was considering a proposal to deter the use of subsidised diesel for commercial purposes and consumption of fuel by the rich. The diesel prices were also decontrolled with that of petrol, but its price was increased by only Rs.2 a litre. The subsidy on diesel was Rs.3.50 a litre and that of kerosene Rs.14-15. In the case of LPG, it was Rs.200 a cylinder.
Referring to the dual pricing policy of kerosene, he said steps were on to find a solution to diversion of the fuel.
Piped LPG would be supplied to 10,000 households in Uttar Pradesh in the current financial year. In the first phase, the scheme would cover Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly and Agra. Two more CNG outlets were planned here to ensure that public transport ran on natural gas.
“Gas is the fuel of the future,” he said.
The Minister inaugurated a “community kitchen programme” of the oil companies at the Balrampur Hospital and Rani Avantibai Hospital here.
The scheme enables attendants of patients to cook food on stoves fitted with LPG cylinders. A nominal charge of Rs. 10 an hour has been fixed for using the amenity.