Reddy hints at continuity in oil ministry policy

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) The new Petroleum and Natural GasMinister S Jaipal Reddy today promised continuity in thepolicy governing the sector and said changes would be madewherever necessary.

"This is not a new government. This is a new minister inan old government. When a new minister takes over, the policydoes not change," Reddy told reporters soon after being namedthe new Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Asked about the difficulties being faced in the wake ofrising crude oil prices, Reddy said he would not take anydecision in haste and would consult others and go to theCabinet whenever necessary.

Reddy, however, said rising crude prices could pose somedifficulties.

Reddy replaces Murli Deora who has been moved to theCorporate Affairs Ministry.

Earlier in the day, Deora said he has demanded from theFinance Ministry abolishment of customs duty on crude oil anda cut in excise duty on diesel to avoid more fuel price hikesthat have become necessary because of spiralling global oilrates.

Deora said he on January 8 met Finance Minister PranabMukherjee to seek an immediate release of Rs 10,000 crore ininterim compensation to state oil companies.

Asked about how he proposes to share the burden of risingcrude prices, Reddy said: "The burden has to be borne byeveryone... but I''m not going to take any decision in haste.

I''ll consult people and will go to Cabinet wherever necessary.

I cannot take immediate decisions."

Commenting on decisions taken by the ministry under hispredecessor, Reddy said: "Deora''s decisions were notindividual decisions, but government decisions.

"Deora''s policy will continue, but if necessary, a newpolicy will be evolved," he said.

"Governance is a continuous process... I''ll try andunderstand this ministry," Reddy said.

Reddy, who apparently had been given an indication aboutthe change, appeared well versed with the subject of his newministry.

"The fundamentals are that in 24 hours, no miracle canhappen. I''ll do my best in the new assignment. I handled animportant portfolio earlier and this is an equally importantand sensitive ministry," he said.

"I thank UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime MinisterManmohan Singh for giving me this responsibility," Reddy said.

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