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March 24, 2000
'No rollback in LPG, kerosene price hike'
The Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Venkaiah Naidu today ruled out the possibility of a rollback in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas in view of the oil pool deficit, heavy external and internal debt situation and inflation.
Answering questions at a press conference here, he said the criticism of the hike was misplaced as the BJP-led government had only 'inherited' the current economic situation from the previous governments.
It was the then United Front government, which had taken the decision to dismantle the administered price mechanism with full support from the congress, he pointed out.
"We have an external and internal debt of Rs 8,680 billion, plus huge fiscal deficits in the states. The Centre and the states should take hard decisions and arrive at broad consensus on fiscal measures. Political parties also should co-operate with the Centre to refurbish the economy, he added.
The oil pool account was deviated to other sectors resulting in huge deficit, he said.
Quoting figures, he said the prices of kerosene and cooking gas were low compared to those in neighbouring Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
On the constituents of the National Democratic Alliance and allies like the Telugu Desam Party taking an exception to the price hike, he denied any rift on the issue and said they were convincing the TDP. But the Andhra Pradesh government was thinking in terms of a huge hike in power charges, he said.
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