Deora seeks customs, excise duty cut to avoid fuel price hike

New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Oil Minister Murli Deora todaydemanded abolition of customs duty on crude oil and cut inexcise duty on diesel to avoid more fuel price hikes that havebecome necessary because of spiralling global oil rates.

"We are demanding rollback of 5 per cent customs dutythat Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had imposed on crudeoil in his last Budget. Also, the Re one per litre increase inexcise duty on petrol and diesel (also done in Budget for2010-11) needs to be reversed," Deora told reporters here.

Mukherjee had on February 26, 2010, imposed 5 per centimport duty on crude oil and hiked the same on petrol anddiesel from 2.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. He also hiked exciseduty on petrol and diesel by Re one a litre to Rs 14.35 and Rs4.60 per litre, respectively.

The twin move had led to a Rs 2.71 a litre hike in petrolprice and Rs 2.55 per litre increase in diesel rates then.

"Crude oil prices have touched USD 92 per barrel andthere are some forecasts that it will go to USD 100 a barrelsoon. There is definitely a case for rolling back the dutiesFinance Minister had imposed in his last budget," Deora said.

Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleumare losing Rs 1.22 per litre on petrol sales despite lastweek''s Rs 2.50-2.54 a litre price hike, he said adding that ondiesel the companies are losing nearly Rs 7 per litre.

The three firms are losing about Rs 290 crore a day inrevenues on selling diesel, LPG and kerosene below cost.

Besides petrol and diesel, they are losing Rs 19.60 alitre on kerosene and Rs 366.28 per 14.2-kg cylinder.

The three firms are projected to lose Rs 73,600 crore inrevenues during the 2010-11 financial year, 55 per cent ofwhich Deora wants the Finance Ministry to meet by way of cashfrom the central Budget.

Deora said he had on January 8 met Mukherjee to seekimmediate release of Rs 10,000 crore in interim compensationto state oil companies.

So far, the finance ministry has committed to make uponly one-third of the revenue losses from the Budget.

"The Finance Minister has sanctioned Rs 13,000 crore tocover part of under-recoveries in first half of the currentfiscal. I requested him to release another Rs 10,000 crore forthird quarter under-recoveries immediately for Q3," he said.

Without government subsidy, HPCL and BPCL are sure toreport net loss in the October-December quarter and IOC toomay end the three months in red.

The government had in 2008-09 given Rs 71,292 crore, outof the Rs 103,292 crore total revenue loss on fuel sales.

"This was 69 per cent of the total under-recovery. During thecurrent fiscal, which has also seen hardening of crude prices,we are seeking just 55 per cent," Deora said.

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