Govt to take steps to deal with petrol prices

NEW DELHI, May 22:
With record fuel prices creating a “crisis situation”, the Government will work on an appropriate solution to ease the burden on common man, top officials said.
While Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that he has aired concerns about high oil prices, a senior official said the Government will come out with “some steps” this week to deal with record high petrol and diesel rates.
“I have loudly spoken about concerns (about high oil prices),” Pradhan said, adding that “appropriate steps” will be taken. He did not elaborate.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said there is no direction from the Government for moderating prices and the three week hiatus before the Karnataka poll was to avoid sharp spike in retail rates.
“We believed that fundamentals did not support such sharp spikes witnessed so we decided to moderate prices,” he told press conference on the fourth quarter earnings.
Asked what changed their mind, he said fuel retailing runs on narrow margins and no company can continue to sell at below cost for long.
The Government may not rely only on cutting excise duty, which makes up for a fourth of the retail selling price, said the official cited earlier, but he too did not elaborate on the various steps being considered.
“Rising fuel price is a crisis situation for Government and it has to be handled with combination of steps. Finance Ministry is consulting the Petroleum ministry on rising crude prices,” he said.
More than a week after the State-owned oil firms ended a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus on revising fuel prices, petrol and diesel rates have touched record highs. Petrol costs Rs 76.87 per litre in Delhi and diesel costs Rs 68.08 a litre. In last nine days, petrol price has risen by Rs 2.24 a litre and diesel by Rs 2.15. (PTI)


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