Govt unlikely to roll back petrol price hike

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Petrol price hike
New Delhi, Nov 5: A roll-back in the steep Rs 1.80 a litre hike in petrol price is unlikely, government sources said today (Nov 5).

"As of now there isn't much political heat. The roll-back looks unlikely," said a source.

Meanwhile, hitting out at the ruling UPA alliance partners such as Trinamool Congress, who have denounced the hike and threatened to withdraw support from the government, a Cabinet Minister said, Mamata Banerjee was part of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) that in June of 2010 had decided to deregulate or free petrol prices.

"She (Mamata Banerjee) had not attended that EGoM meeting of June 25, 2010, but her consent was taken. She continued in the Union Cabinet after the decision was made and did not threaten even once to withdraw support," the minister said, adding that the decision to hike petrol price was in line with the empowerment that government has given to oil companies last year.

"She (Mamta Banerjee) is a compulsive populist. When we have alliance like them we don't need opposition BJP," he added.

Sources said the state-owned oil companies took the decision to hike prices on their own and were not required to consult anyone in the government.

They added that the government does not want to become unpopular, but sometimes it is forced to take unpopular decisions. "It is not that the government is running for Nobel price for unpopularity. Government does unpopular things only when it becomes inevitable." said a source.

The oil companies were forced to hike the petrol price because of the double whammy of high oil prices and the rupee's depreciation against dollar, making imports costlier.

PTI

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