Petro hike comes as double blow: Aam aadmi

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (UNI) The Government's decision to hike the prices of petrol and diesel has been strongly condemned by a cross section of people.

Though the rise was expected, it has been ''bit too steep'', they said.

The Government today announced an increase of Rs 5 per litre in the retail price of petrol, Rs 3 for diesel and Rs 50 for the domestic LPG from midnight tonight, but kerosene price has been left untouched.

''The hike is appalling. We all knew there was going to be a raise, but a ten per cent rise is quite shocking,'' said Pratyush Mehta, an MBA student of a Noida-based Management School.

Hasmukh Gandhi, who runs a small kirana store in a South Delhi colony, expressed fear that the rise in petro prices would push up the prices of other products. ''As it is the rise in inflation rate has hit us badly, and now this has come as a double blow.'' The rise in prices of a LPG cylinder by Rs 50 has upset the homemakers.

Housewife Maheshwari termed it as ''atrocious'' and even went to the extent of saying that this ''will sound the death knell for the UPA government''.

But there were few voices which said the price rise was inevitable.

''When we are paying the actual price for other things we buy, why do we need a subsidy for petro products?,'' asked R Sethuraman, a senior journalist and said cross subsidisation was bad economics.

He also suggested that the Government should stop oil prices as administered price mechanism had been lifted long back.

Sandip Das, a financial analyst, said it was high time Indians got used to paying the actual petroleum price. ''We have been unnecessarily pampered. Our oil marketing companies are in a bad shape.'' UNI MMG PK AS1743

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