Cabinet meeting may not take up fuel price hike issue tommorrow

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Noida, Feb 6 (UNI) The cabinet is scheduled to meet tomorrow but a decision on a hike in retail prices of fuel is unlikely to be taken up.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today said, '' the cabinet is expected to meet tomorrow but I cannot say if a price revision will happen.'' A ministry official added that the cabinet will meet tomorrow but a price revision was ''not on the agenda'' as of now.

The Group of Ministers on fuel prices, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met on January 31 and decided to leave the final decision to the Cabinet.

The GoM is understood to have narrowed down to two options-- raising petrol price by Rs 4 or Rs 2 a litre and diesel by Rs 2 or Re 1 per litre.

However, Mr Deora today dismissed any speculations and stated that the final call was for the cabinet to take.

Mr Deora has always maintained that it was for the cabinet to accept or reject any recommendation it makes and the power and the final shape to the issue will depend entirely on the cabinet's decision.

Petrol and diesel prices were last raised in June 2006, when crude oil was at 67 dollars a barrel. It is beiung traded at 88 dollars a barrel today LPG prices were last raised by Rs 20 per cylinder in November 2004, when crude was at 34 dollars a barrel. Kerosene prices have not been changed since 2002 when crude was at 23 dollars per barrel.

A Re 1 per litre increase in petrol price would give Rs 90 crore a month of additional revenue to public sector oil companies.

A similar hike in diesel would fetch Rs 360 crore a month, while Rs 10 per cylinder increase in LPG prices would result in Rs 58 crore worth of additional revenues every month.

UNI RT PBB SR VC1230

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