Confusion over the timing of a fuel price hike continues with Sunday’s meeting between Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora remaining inconclusive.
“No decision has been taken,” Deora told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Mukherjee.
A senior petroleum ministry official said the meeting was held in the wake of opposition from key allies in the government and the two ministers discussed an ‘all-acceptable’ hike in fuel prices.
Does this mean that the proposal to free petrol and diesel prices has been put on the back-burner? “We (petroleum ministry) wanted freeing of petrol prices but the decision making authority is not with us,” the official said.
“The quantum of hike can be finalised only after a consensus is reached on the modalities of addressing the subsidy shortfall on cooking fuel and kerosene besides the mechanism for bridging the under-recoveries of state-owned retailers on petrol and diesel, when crude prices go up.”
Asked on the timing of the hike, the official said, “It cannot be disclosed.”
Last week, Deora’s ministry did not take the proposal to free petrol prices, along with hikes in diesel, cooking gas and kerosene rates, to the Cabinet because of opposition from key government allies — the Trinamool Congress and the DMK.