Decision on hike in petrol

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Bangalore, Feb 8 (UNI) A decision on hike in petrol and diesel prices was likely to be taken by the Committee of group of ministers under the chairmanship of Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murali Deora said today.

Speaking to newsmen here, after the Consultative Committee meeting of Members of Parliament for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas here tonight, he said that the Committee of group of Ministers had already met twice during the last one month on this issue.

"It will meet again next week, a decision might be taken on the oil price hike but I cannot say whether the decision will be made next week", he added.

On Union government issuing Oil Bonds to the Oil Companies battered by the high crude oil prices, he said that the ball is in the court of Finance Ministry. "We are hopeful that they may help us again by providing bonds", he added.

On change of duty structure of petro products, he said that Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram will have to do it. "If there is a need for that he will do that", it is entirely with him", he added.

On LPG shortage, he said that there was no crisis. Besides shortage of cylinder, severe winter this season led to higher consumption and this led to the shortage. "You saw what happened in Mumbai, I had never worn a sweater in my life in Mumbai, winter was very severe this time. We had meeting of bottling companies, they have assured me that the shortage will be wiped off in a couple of weeks.

Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said that the 10 crore new gas connection were given in the recent months, this coupled with heavy demand created the shortage.

All bottling plants are now working in three shifts and 24/7 schedule with in a few days the shortage will ease up.

On introducing CNG operated vehicles in major cities, he said now only in Mumbai and Delhi majority of the vehicles were operated on CNG and once the natural gas supply capacity is expanded CNG vehicles can be introduced in other cities also.

In Bangalore CNG vehicles will ply during the next 36 months. At present there are 54,000 Autorickshaws in Bangalore that ran on LPG, this is very good rate and reduces pollution to some extent.

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