Ministerial meet to discuss LPG supply, price deferred

September 16th, 2011 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) A ministerial meeting scheduled for Friday to consider limiting supply of and a hike in the price of cooking gas cylinders was deferred indefinitely due to political pressure from key allies of the government, sources said.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was scheduled to consider the recommendations of a task force on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene pricing.

The panel has proposed that every household should be given only four to six LPG cylinders per year at a subsidised price and additional cylinders should be supplied at market price. Average households each year uses about 12 to 15 LPG cylinders of 14 kg each.

An LPG cylinder is sold at a subsidised price of Rs.395 in Delhi while the market price is around Rs.700 per cylinder.

The EGoM meeting has been deferred for the third time due to pressure from key allies of the government. The Trinamool Congress and the DMK have expressed reservations over the proposal to hike the LPG price. No new date for the meeting has been notified.

“This will lead to further inflation and will be a burden on the common man,” said Railway Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, reacting to the hike in petrol prices and proposed hike in LPG price.

State-run oil marketing firms Thursday hiked petrol price by Rs.3.14 per litre. However, the price of diesel has been left untouched. Petrol price has been hiked for the 10th time since June 2010. It was raised by Rs.5 a litre in May.

“The government should find a way to compensate the oil companies while keeping in mind the burden on the common man due to high prices of essential commodities,” Trivedi told reporters.

To show his party’s opposition to the proposal to hike LPG prices, DMK leader and Fertiliser Minister M.K. Azhagiri had decided not to attend the EGoM meeting.

Other members of the Empowered Group of Ministers include, Agriculture Minister and NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Petroleum Minister S.Jaipal Reddy, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Road Transport Minister C.P. Joshi.

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