End dual pricing for diesel: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, Jan 25 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately end the dual pricing in diesel, saying it hurt the common man.

She also threatened to file a case in the Supreme Court if the central government did not revoke the decision to hike the diesel prices for bulk consumers.

"I really wonder whether there is any justification for the partial decontrol of retail diesel prices and the huge increase in the price for bulk consumer," she added.

Dated Jan 24, the text of the letter was released to the media Friday.

"In normal marketing practice, it is the bulk consumers who enjoy discounts. All this leads me to question what the true motive behind these perverse decisions could be.

"I really wonder whether the move is to protect public interest or to benefit private interest," she said.

The dual pricing policy, Jayalalithaa said, was "one of the many short-sighted measures taken by the central government which is going to further increase the burden on the common people and aggravate their misery".

The central government has decided to hike diesel price by Rs.11 a litre for bulk consumers and 0.55 paise a litre per month for retail consumers.

She said due to the dual pricing policy, the state transport undertakings in Tamil Nadu would suffer an increased annual burden of Rs.750 crore in fuel bill.

"I am aghast at the callous attitude of the central government, which pays lip service to protecting the 'aam aadmi' ... even as it perversely allows the super rich owners of luxury cars and SUVs running on diesel to continue to enjoy subsidy and pay almost Rs.10 less per litre than the state transport undertakings that provide transport to the poor."

The chief minister said there were "serious doubts about the methodology by which the so-called 'under-recoveries' by oil companies are estimated and the profitability of the upstream oil companies".

Jayalalithaa has raised the issue of oil pricing with the central government for the second time in eight days.

On Jan 17, she said the decision to peg the domestic diesel prices to international rates was unacceptable at a time when 70 percent of India's crude oil is imported.

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