Oil firms, state govts step in to douse petrol fire

  • Anupama Airy & Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: May 25, 2012 09:49 IST
  • A protester burns a portrait of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a protest in Odisha against the steep rise in petrol prices. State oil companies ...

  • An employee counts notes at a fuel pump in Ahmedabad after the government decided to hike prices of petrol by 11.5%. AP/Ajit Solanki

  • BJP protesters burn the effigy of UPA government against the petrol price hike, in Hyderabad. State-run oil firms announced a sharp hike in petrol prices ...

  • West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee shows market data during a press conference regarding the price hike of petrol, in Kolkata. Also seen in the ...

  • Heavy rush at a petrol pump in New Delhi after the announcement of a hike in petrol price by Rs. 7.50.

  • queue

    Vehicles queue up near a petrol pump in New Delhi. HT/Sonu Mehta

  • Vehicles

    Vehicles queue up near a pump to fill petrol in tanks before the steep hike in price gets effective in New Delhi. HT/Sonu Mehta

  • subsidy

    Oil companies on Tuesday announced a cut in petrol prices by Rs. 2.42 per litre and diesel by Rs. 2.25 a litre.  (AFP File Photo)

  • BJP

    BJP protesters shout slogans as they burn the effigy of the UPA government against the petrol price hike, in Hyderabad. AFP/Noah Seelam

  • vehicles

    People line up to fill their vehicles at an oil pump in Lucknow after the announcement of hike in petrol prices. PTI/Nand Kumar

A day after the steepest ever petrol price hike of Rs 7.54 sparked protests by UPA allies and Opposition parties in several parts of the country on Thursday, there were strong indications that the government would cushion the blow for the common man.

Petrol prices may come down by Rs 3-4 a litre in the next few days as state governments readied plans to slash local taxes and oil companies hinted that if the current softening of crude prices continues, it would prompt them to reduce retail prices of the precious fuel.

Congress-ruled Kerala and Uttarakhand on Thursday reduced local taxes on petrol, which will bring retail prices down by Rs 1.63 per litre and Rs 1.87 per litre, respectively. Other states, including Delhi, are likely to follow suit.

Oil companies indicated that they may soon cut prices by Rs 1.50. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/25_05_12-mumbai.jpg

Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy cut short his visit to Turkmenistan by a day to arrive in the Capital amid the intensifying political backlash.

With the Congress stepping up pressure on the government for a rollback, Reddy assured the party leadership that he would talk to the oil companies.

"The party is hopeful that some kind of a modus operandi involving the Centre, states and oil companies will be arrived at. We are hopeful that the government would find a way out to provide relief to the common man," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

RS Butola, chairman and managing director of Indian Oil Corporation, said, "The current trend (in international prices) indicates that prices (of petrol) can come down."

Railway minister Mukul Roy skipped the cabinet meeting in Delhi and led a Trinamool Congress march in Kolkata to protest against the steep hike.

Union minister MK Alagiri (DMK) skipped the meeting too. The NCP said agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was abroad and Praful Patel had already informed the cabinet he wouldn't be attending the meeting.


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