No roll back on hike in petrol, diesel prices: PM
New Delhi, June 7 : Refusing to buckle under pressure, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today ruled out a roll-back of the hike in petrol and diesel prices, even as Petroleum Minister Murli Deora made a fervent appeal to the states to cut sales tax to provide a cushion to the consumer.
The Union Cabinet effected a Rs four per litre hike in petrol and Rs 2 per litre in diesel on Monday, leading to country-wide protests by the Opposition parties and the Left, which is supporting the UPA-government from outside, and resentment within the Congress.
But the government today stuck to its stand with both the Prime Minister and Mr Deora saying that there will be no roll-back of the hike in prices of petrol and diesel.
Mr Deora, who met Congress President Sonia Gandhi last evening, met the Prime Minister this afternoon to explain the viewpoint of the Congress party conveyed to him by Ms Gandhi.
''We will face it'', the Prime Minister reportedly told Mr Deora.
The Prime Minister's remarks were a pointer to the the stark necessity of carrying out the hike in the face of rising international crude oil prices and the mounting under-recoveries of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMC).
''No roll-back is being discussed or decided", Mr Deora told Reporters after a meeting with the Chief Executives of oil companies here.
But, Mr Deora requested the State governments to reduce sales tax to diminish the burden on the man on the street.
Mr Deora expressed the opinion that the Sales tax on fuel products in the case of some states was high, providing a margin to reduce these.
The Minister asked the CEOs to carry out an education compaign among consumers, explaining the circumstances that led the government to carry out a hike.
Today was the third time the Petroleum Minister has denied that there would be a roll-back--partial or complete.