Fuel price hike will be minimal: Deora

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New Delhi, Jan 18: Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today said a hike in the retail prices of fuel will be minimal and the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) will meet tomorrow or the day after tomorrow to take a decision.

''We will ensure that the pricke hike is minimal so that the consumers do not complain and the oil marketing companies do not suffer heavy losses,'' Mr Deora had said. Mr Deora clarified that yesterday's meeting could not reach any decision since certain ministers were not present. The EGoM, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had to consider a proposal by the oil marketing companies who reportedly called for an increase of Rs 4 and Rs 2 a litre for petrol and diesel prices respectively.

Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan added that the hike in prices is most likely to be from next week.

The three government-owned OMCs such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum are projected to lose Rs 69,753 crore on sale of petrol, diesel, LPG and PDS kerosene as the government has not allowed them to raise prices in line with the price of imported crude.

Petrol is being sold at a loss of Rs 8.74 a litre, diesel at Rs 9.92 per litre, kerosene Rs 20.53 a litre and LPG at a loss of Rs 256.35 per cylinder.

The Indian basket of crude oil touched an all time high of 100 dollars a barrel on january 3, 2008 and the oil marketing companies are expected to close the fiscal with a total loss of Rs 69,753 crore.

Retail prices of petrol in Delhi is at Rs 43.52 and diesel is at Rs 30.48.


UNI

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