Fuel price hike justified, Opposition being hypocrites: Deora | business | Hindustan Times
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Fuel price hike justified, Opposition being hypocrites: Deora

With Opposition parties calling for a nationwide strike against the hike in fuel prices, Oil Minister Murli Deora today justified the decision, saying the increase translated to less than Re 1 per day on domestic LPG and 26-27 paisa a day on kerosene.

business Updated: Jun 30, 2010 17:55 IST

With Opposition parties calling for a nationwide strike against the hike in fuel prices, Oil Minister Murli Deora today justified the decision, saying the increase translated to less than Re 1 per day on domestic LPG and 26-27 paisa a day on kerosene.

"No benefit will accrue with this kind of adventurism. We want people and Opposition parties to understand the compulsions under which we took this decision and what impact it will have on people," Deora told reporters here.

Describing claims made by critics of the June 25 decision as "exaggeration", he said the Rs 35 increase in the price of LPG cylinders translated into an additional burden of less
than a rupee per day, considering a bottle of domestic gas lasts 30-35 days.

The Rs 3 a litre hike in kerosene translated into an additional burden of 26-27 paisa per day.

"We have kept the burden on the poor man the minimal. The talk of the hike breaking the back of the poor and common man is nothing but exaggeration. The facts are before you," he said.

BJP and Left parties have separately given a call for a nationwide strike on July 5 against the fuel price hike.

Deora refused to answer questions on a rollback, saying, "I do not know anything (on that)."

Alongside the hike in LPG and kerosene rates, the prices of petrol were freed from government control, leading to an increase in the rates by Rs 3.50 per litre in Delhi from June 26. Diesel prices were also deregulated, but the rates increased by Rs 2 per litre only, in preparation for an eventual freeing of prices.

"The NDA government raised price of PDS kerosene from Rs 2.52 per litre in January, 1998, to Rs 9 per litre in March, 2002. This hike was 258 per cent, even though crude oil prices rose by just 147 per cent during the period," he said.

The Congress-led UPA government did not increase kerosene prices for the past six years, despite the price of crude oil (the raw material for making petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene) more than doubling from USD 36 a barrel in May, 2004, to USD 78.

"We raised kerosene rates by Rs 3 per litre against the required increase of Rs 18.07 per litre," he said. "We have ensured that the poor are not unnecessarily burdened."

"We will continue to subsidise LPG and kerosene, which are the common man's cooking fuels. Even after last week's price increase, kerosene price is Rs 15.07 per litre below cost and LPG is under-priced by Rs 226.90 per cylinder," he said.