Cabinet to meet on Friday over crude price hike
The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may meet on Friday to consider raising petrol and diesel prices among other measures to bailout state run firms that have been reeling under unprecedented high crude prices.
With Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum projected to lose Rs 200,000 crore in revenues on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below import cost, industry sources said a hike in the range of Rs 2 to 5 per litre appears on the cards.
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on his part neither denied nor confirmed Cabinet being scheduled for Friday.
"We are discussing all possible measures to help and protect our public sector oil companies... Some remedial measures need to be taken (urgently)," he told reporters.
The three firms are currently losing Rs 450 crore in revenues on fuel sales every day.
Petrol is being sold at a loss of Rs 16.34 a litre, diesel at Rs 23.49 per litre, LPG at Rs 305.90 per cylinder loss and kerosene at a discount of Rs 28.72 per litre.
Deora has called a meeting of heads of the oil PSUs tomorrow morning and after that may brief the Cabinet of the financial strain on the companies in view of international crude prices topping 135 dollars a barrel.
"I cannot rule in or rule out anything at this stage," Deora said when asked if petrol and diesel prices hike was an option under consideration.
"We are concerned at the financial health of the PSUs," he said, but asked the consumers not to panic.
"There is no rationing of fuel as has been reported by one newspaper. We can never resort to such an anti-consumer practice. I have spoken to BPCL Chairman Ashok Sinha who has categorically denied such a move," he said.