Cabinet decision on fuel price hike likely next week

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New Delhi, Jan 31 : The Union Cabinet is likely to take a decision on increasing petrol and diesel prices early next week.

The Group of Ministers on fuel prices, which is headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met Thursday morning and decided to leave the final decision to the Cabinet.

"The committee has decided to leave it (the decision) to the Cabinet," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told reporters after the meeting.

Without elaborating, Deora said the GoM has made a recommendation to be forwarded to the Cabinet, and added that the Group may meet again just before the Cabinet meeting to make a firm suggestion.

The hike in petrol price is likely to be by Rs 4 or Rs 2 a litre. Diesel prices are likely to be increase by Rs 2 or Re 1 per litre.

When the Cabinet meets next week, it is also likely to consider a decrease in duties to contain the impact of surging international crude oil prices. Crude oil is pegged currently at 92 dollars a barrel.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were also present at today's meeting.

The group gave up the idea of raising the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), but has sought a cut in excise duties.

Petrol and diesel prices were last raised in June 2006, and the price of LPG was raised by Rs 20 per cylinder in November 2004.

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