'No question of rollback of diesel hike': Veerappa Moily

Jaipur, Jan. 19 (ANI): Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily on Saturday made it absolutely clear that there is no question of rollback of the diesel price hike, and said India is the only country where there is regulation of diesel.

Dr. Moily said the government has not increased any price, but just continued.

"Sometimes, the people do not understand that when it comes to kerosene that will affect the large numbers of the mass. We have not increased any price, we have continued. And when there was a public demand that LPG of six is not adequate, we increased it to nine without increasing the price. But in so far as the diesel is concerned, there is a report from Vijay Kelkar and this has been going on even during the days of the NDA that there should be a de-regulation of the diesel. And this is the only country where we have the regulation of the diesel," he told mediapersons here on the sidelines of the Congress Party's 'Chintan Shivir'.

Dr. Moily said that in the entire world the cheapest diesel or petrol is available in India in spite of the fact that 83 percent of the diesel or petroleum products are imported.

"We have to pay dollars and billions of crores are paid. From where, we have to tax some people. (If) we have to pay in dollars then ultimately the country will become bankrupt. And if the fiscal deficit raises, suppose you go on borrowing money and also paying like that (then) what will happen our rating will come down, investment will come down. Nobody will come and invest and when it comes down then we become a junk state," he added.

Amid demands from the leaders of various political outfits that the government should rollback the diesel price hike, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader

Murli Manohar Joshi yesterday hit out at the Congress-led UPA Government over its decision, saying this would have a cascading effect on the country's overall economy.

"The fact is that our economy is slowly slipping towards failure and the revenue collections this time have dipped which is why these situations are being created before the budget. I am afraid they might increase the prices further, which will increase inflation," said Joshi.

"So, in one way this is a dangerous method to steal from the common man's pocket and add to the riches of the government and oil companies. This move should be protested and we will do the same," he added.

Talking to the media in New Delhi after the meeting on Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Dr. Moily earlier on Thursday said that there is no increase in the prices of diesel and kerosene.

Dr. Moily, however, said that the oil companies have been permitted to raise diesel prices by a small quantum periodically till such time that they are able to cover Rs 9.60 per litre loss they incur on the fuel.

Dr. Moily, who refused to provide details of diesel price increase, said the raise may take place as early as tonight.

The government also raised the cap on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to nine bottles from six per year.

"I am happy to inform the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs has decided to raise the cap on subsidised LPG to nine cylinders per household in a year from existing six cylinders," Dr. Moily said.

The consumers will get a quota of five subsidised cylinders between September 2012 and March 2013. They will be entitled to nine cylinders per annum from April 1, 2013. (ANI)

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