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Expect a Rs 2-2.50-per-litre cut in petrol prices over the “next few days” as the government works out a plan to soften the blow of the Rs 7.54-a-litre hike. The cut could get bigger, if the government manages to convince the states to reduce taxes on petrol as well as diesel.
Even better, there will be no immediate hike in diesel and cooking gas (LPG) prices, which were expected to rise by Rs 3-4 a litre and Rs 50 a cylinder.
Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy on Friday said the price cut would come soon. “Wait for just a few more days — I’m not saying weeks but days — to allow us to take a decision,” he said, as the government continued to be hounded by allies and Opposition alike to roll back the hike.
Reddy said a meeting would be called shortly with all chief ministers to evolve consensus on reducing high taxes on petrol and diesel. “I spoke to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today and in the next few days, the Centre and states will arrive at a formula to reduce petroleum taxes.”
While Congress-ruled Kerala and Uttarakhand have already announced reductions, other states are expected to follow suit.
“When petrol prices were last increased, we reduced taxes,” Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit said. “We are thinking on the same lines and will let you know Monday.”
Ruling out an immediate increase in consumer prices of diesel and LPG, Reddy said while “the logic is unassailable, politics and logic don’t go together”.