CPI(M) disapproves PM's refusal to cut fuel prices

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today strongly disapproved refusal by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reduce the prices of petroleum products.

The party, in a press statement issued here, said the Prime Minister's categorial refusal on his way back from Qatar only underlines his insensitivity and at the same time distorts the facts pertaining to the pricing of the petroleum products.

The CPI(M) urged the government to immediately bring down the administered price of all petroleum products which will go a long way in bringing down the runway prices of essential commodities and ensure relief to the harassed ''aam admi''.

The government had decided to increase the administered prices of petrol and diesel when the international crude oil prices were reaching astronomical levels of 147 dollars a barrel.

Saying the oil marketing companies are making losses due to under pricing of products, the Prime Minister refused to bring down the retail price on the specious plea that ''the Indian oil companies have to bear a very heavy burden''.

But the fact of the matter is that retail prices of petroleum products in India are higher than in many other countries because of the high taxes charged by the government on them, the statement added.

The CPI(M) said the government in contrast has bailed out the private airlines by reducing the price of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).

The government has reduced the price of ATF in four phass during the last three months from Rs 71,11,028 per kilo litre in August 2008 to Rs 44,968 per kilo litre as of now which amounts to Rs 86 per litre approximately.

ATF has also been exempted from import duty of five per cent.

As a matter of fact, the excise duty levied by government on ATF is Rs 1.80 per litre whereas the same on diesel is Rs 3.60 per litre and Rs 13.35 per litre on petrol, the party said.

While the Prime Minister has defended the bail out package to the private airline companies on ground that they provide employment, he appears to be blissfully oblivious of the cascading effect of the petrol and diesel prices on essential commodities particularly foodgrains, the CPI(M) said.

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