Government moves towards fuel price hike

June 1st, 2008 - 11:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The government Sunday held parleys with leaders of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to evolve a consensus on “a reasonable” hike in petroleum products in view of the sky-high crude oil prices that crossed $135 per barrel in the international market. Reliable government sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a separate meeting with Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to discuss a possible way out to the crisis.

Though details of the meeting are still unknown, sources said the prime minister also met some members of the UPA core group and sought their support. The state-run oil companies have called for immediate increase in fuel prices to save them from severe losses.

The Left parties, which extend crucial outside support to the government, are opposed to any hike in the prices of petroleum products.

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan Sunday announced a nation-wide agitation from June 6 against any hike in fuel prices.

“A hike in fuel prices will further shoot up inflation,” Bardhan told reporters here Sunday. Inflation for the week ending May 17 was recorded at 8.1 percent.

The issue of fuel price hike also came up for discussion at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) Saturday evening, where some leaders were understood to have blamed “inflation” for the party’s debacle in Karnataka assembly poll.

The state-run oil companies Saturday raised aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price by 18.5 percent.

Indian Oil Corp Saturday night raised ATF prices to Rs. 69,227.08 per kilolitre from Rs.58,387.92 in New Delhi. In Mumbai, which has India’s busiest airport, the jet fuel prices have gone up to Rs.76,625.68 per kilolitre from Rs.64,824.82.

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