State Finance Ministers ask Centre to reduce petrol prices

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Chandigarh, Nov 3 (UNI) The Empowered Committee of state Finance Ministers today sought a reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel following a decline in the global crude prices.

The demand was made at the meeting of the Empowered Committee chaired by its Chaimran, Asim K Dasgupta here. The meeting was attended by the Finance Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Maharashtra besides officials of finance departments of other states.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, who also holds the Finance portfolio also attended the meeting. An Additional secretary of the Union Finance Ministry was also present.

Putting forward this demand of the Finance Ministers and state officials, Mr Dasgupta told mediapersons that in order to keep a check on prices of petroleum goods, states had to slash taxes after the central government hiked the prices of petrol and diesel. Now that the global crude prices had fallen to 60 dollars per barrel, the central government should also slash the prices of petrol and diesel, he added.

He pointed out that when the prices of crude gradually went up from 60 dollars per barrel to 140 dollars a barrel, the central government on nine occasions hiked the petrol and diesel prices. '' A reverse gesture is expected now that the prices of crude have fallen'', he added.

The Empowered Commitee is expected to take up this matter with the central government.

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