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Steep hike of Rs 4 a litre for petrol, Rs 2 a litre for diesel

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 5 (UNI) The Government today announced a steep hike of Rs four a litre in the price of petrol and Rs two a litre in diesel but spared kerosene and LPG from any further increase.

The move immediately drew protests from the Left parties, the allies of the UPA Government, which will launch an agitation against the decision from tomorrow to culminate in an All India Protest Day action on June 13.

Petrol will now cost Rs 47.49 per litre in Delhi from midnight tonight, Rs 50.90 in Kolkata, Rs 53.16 in Mumbai and Rs 51.49 in Chennai.

Diesel will sell at Rs 32.45 in Delhi, Rs 34.87 in Kolkata, Rs 39.57 in Mumbai and Rs 35.72 in Chennai.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said after the Cabinet meeting the customs duty on petrol and diesel had also been reduced from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The government is issuing oil bonds and the quantum is being worked out.

Public sector oil companies had been demanding a hike as they had been incurring a loss of Rs 30,000 crore since last year owing to the massive increase in the international crude oil prices.

The last revision was made in September 2005.

The oil marketing companies-- Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and IBP-- say they are losing Rs 6.51 per litre on petrol and Rs 6.66 per litre on diesel for selling these products below cost.

They are also losing Rs 16.13 per litre on kerosene and Rs 115 per cylinder on cooking gas.

Collectively, the projected burden on OMCs is about Rs 73,500 crore for 2006-07.

Thus, the hike has been effected to meet the under recoveries, government sources said.

Mr Deora said it was the minimum increase the government could make.

By leaving prices of kerosene and cooking gas, the government has spared the weaker sections, he added.

The price hike could have been avoided but the government was adamant, Left leaders A B Bardhan and M K Pandhe told UNI.

The sponsoring Committee of the Trade Unions also resolved to launch an agitation against the hike ''which could have been avoided if the Government had chosen to act upon the Left's five suggestions." More UNI Team RP HT2007

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