TAMIL NADU

Reduction in prices of fuel ruled out

Staff Reporter

KARAIKUDI: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has ruled out the possibility of reducing the prices of petroleum products.

The price of a barrel of crude oil has come down from $70 to $56. The price had shot up from $28 a barrel about one and a half years ago.

He said for countries like India, the crude oil price should ideally be around $40. The country was still losing heavily on oil imports and there was no chance of reducing the petroleum prices, Mr. Chidambaram told reporters on Saturday, after inaugurating the Sri Annamalaiyar Paper Mill at Uravayal, near here. The mill was established at a cost of Rs. 7.5 crores.

Terming the current trend of economic growth as "satisfactory," Mr. Chidambaram said the Reserve Bank of India and leading economists had predicted that the GDP rate would be 7-7.5 percent during the current year. The Government had taken a number of steps to improve the growth rate further.

Asked whether the Left stand on economic reforms had affected the investment climate, particularly foreign direct investment, he said the country continued to receive good FDI in various fields including civil aviation, asset reconstruction and other sectors. "There is nothing wrong in listening to the demands and initiating discussion from any parties."

He said the UPA Government had implemented various schemes for Tamil Nadu including the Sethusamudram project.