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No plan to shut petrol pumps at night: Moily

Petroleum minister issues clarification after uproar, says 'idea' of fuel curfew came from the public. BJP rejects his explanation, says the country is heading toward economic emergency.

delhi Updated: Sep 02, 2013 21:30 IST

The government is not planning to shut petrol stations at night, petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily said on Monday.

Moily said this in response to reports that the government would shut petrol pumps at night to curb demand of petroleum products in view of the sharp jump in crude oil prices in international markets and depreciation of the rupee.

"We have not taken any decision. It is not our idea. It is an idea which is coming from public and others," Moily said.

In a separate statement, the ministry said there was no proposal under consideration of the government to regulate sale of petroleum products from retail outlets only during certain hours.

"We are toying with the ideas that have come to us. That doesn't mean we have accepted them or are enforcing shutdowns," Moily told media persons.

To the Bharatiya Janata Party's criticism reacting to the media reports, Moily said the "BJP may come up with a better proposal if it has one".

"The country's present situation can be termed as an economic emergency, doing this will only worsen it," BJP MP Yashwant Sinha had said commenting on the oil minister's reported proposal.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "It's like a curfew, we are heading towards economic emergency, the government must get petrol from Iran."

The petroleum minister had last week said the oil ministry has worked out a plan to save $22 billion in the oil import bill. Though he did not divulge details ministry sources told IANS that the plan involved oil imports from Iran, which can be paid for in rupees thereby saving precious forex outgo.

The petroleum ministry plans to launch a massive fuel conservation drive from September 16 to cut fuel demand by three% and save around Rs 16,000 crore ($ 2.5 billion) in foreign exchange.

First Published: Sep 02, 2013 19:17 IST