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Fuel Price Hike ‘Unavoidable’, Consumers to Face Tough Days

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TNI Bureau: The consumers will face a tough situation in the coming days as the fuel prices are likely to be hiked next week. Hinting at a steep price hike, Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy said that it is ‘unavoidable’.

Suspecting on he possible hike, people were found standing in queue at the petrol pumps across the country yesterday to have fuel at the existing prices. However, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), which was scheduled on Tuesday evening, to decide hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, was deferred without citing any reason.

It may be a huge relief for the consumers for a while, but the price hike is unavoidable as indicated by the minister. The fuel price hike would put an extra pressure on the common people to survive. This is the country where majority of people are struggling to have food for at least two times, the prices in all the commodities would be increased.

The decision could have been deferred a few days. “However, I would like to tell the people in all humility that an increase is unavoidable. We will have to perform our unpleasant duty,” said Reddy.

The statement suggested that the minister hinted at the possible price hike and people should be prepared to face the situation. Showing the reason for the price hike, he said that state oil firms are bearing the loss of more than Rs 188,000 crore on selling diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. He justified the oil firms’ appeal for price hike saying the oil prices are hiked in international market and the decline of rupee is another chief reason behind the price hike proposal.

India imports more than 80% of crude oil it processes and pays in dollar. The government has been giving subsidies on diesel, kerosene and cooking fuel rates since June 2011.

While the government has been avoiding the Opposition over a series of petrol price hike saying it cannot decide on the petrol as it decontrolled petrol in June 2010, increasing the prices in diesel, kerosene and cooking gas is inevitable.

Even Finance Minister P Chidambaram also told the same. “However painful and difficult, the increase in price of oil product is unavoidable”, he said.

He did not say to what extent it will hit the consumer and when the price hike decision will be taken by the CCPA, but he said that he has brought the facts in front of the committee as a minister.

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