Deora rules out fuel price rollback
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Deora rules out fuel price rollback

The spurt in int'l prices required a steep hike to save oil firms, the minister said.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 01:30 IST

The government is not contemplating a rollback of the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel — not yet.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora’s unscheduled call on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday led to speculation that the government may cut down the hike it had announced on Monday after a cabinet meeting. Well-placed sources, however, ruled out the possibility. They said Deora merely explained the reasons behind the hike to the Congress chief.

"We've tried to pass on the least possible burden to consumers," Deora told reporters. "The spurt in international oil prices required a steep hike to save oil companies from bankruptcy. I don't think there is a need to roll back the hike at this point of time."

The Congress — a section of which favours a rollback — too has to be sensitive to PM Manmohan Singh’s policy approach. He apparently thinks it is time for decisions that have been on hold due to populist reasons or coalition politics.

That resolve will be tested — with the Left and the BJP threatening to take to the streets. An indication of the communists’ tough posturing was evident when CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta refused to talk to Deora over a cup of tea. "We'll meet in the streets,” Dasgupta is believed to have told the minister who reportedly approached him to explain the government's position.

First Published: Jun 07, 2006 00:00 IST