Cabinet note on fuel price cut soon; Deora faces political storm

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) With a view to bringing down prices of petrol and petroleum products, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will send to the Cabinet soon a comprehensive note relating to the oil sector, including various price scenarios, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said here today.

The Minister made these remarks in reply to a spate of questions relating to a possible government's decision to cut prices of petrol and diesel.

The Minister denied reports that he has written any letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi suggesting the level of price cut that was possible and desirable.

He also said he has received no notice from the Election Commission regarding a decision by the government to slash prices in view of the tumbling of prices of oil in international markets.

The minister pooh-poohed the criticism by the BJP, saying on the one hand it had been clamouring for a reduction in prices of petrol and on the other they have gone to the Election Commission complaining that the government plans to cut prices of petrol and petroleum products for electoral gains.

Saying that there are significant under-recoveries by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) due to losses they make on the sale of domestic LPG and kerosene, and other products, he said, ''The under-recoveries for the current fiscal stands at Rs 1,10,000 crore.'' The Minister remarked yesterday that the government was likely to take a decision to cut fuel prices towards December-end, after the Assembly elections to six states are over.

His remark had whipped up a political storm with mordant criticism from the BJP and Left parties.

The session by Mr Deora and his team at the Economic Editors Conference was dominated by issues relating to the oil price cut, with technical details being confined to the background for a change.

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