Petroleum ministry seeks hike in petrol, diesel prices

 Petroleum Ministry is seeking a Rs 10 per litre increase in petrol and Rs 5 a litre hike in diesel prices along with cut in customs and excise duties to offset the impact of surge in crude oil prices that have touched 135 dollars per barrel.

“The situation is getting to be alarming. We need to stem the rot in the beginning,” Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan told reporters after a stock-taking meeting with the heads of oil PSUs.

Srinivasan however, said the cabinet scheduled for Friday will not consider raising fuel prices as the subject needed some more preparation and a note would be moved to the authorities in a day or two.

“We expect a decision in 3-4 days time”, he said, adding the Ministry was suggesting a combination of price hike and duty cut to lower the projected Rs 2,00,000 crore under-realisation on sale of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene.

“The price hike is inevitable,” he said but refused to say what quantum of hike the ministry was seeking.

Srinivasan said the Ministry was seeking a lowering of customs duty on crude from 5 per cent to zero and import duty on petrol and diesel from 7.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Besides, the Ministry was also seeking cut on excise duty on the two products.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said he had discussed the situation with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening and will raise the issue again on Friday during the Cabinet meeting.

“We are trying to see that some action is taken immediately,” Deora said.

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