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Left prevails; no hike in fuel prices
October 31, 2004 19:18 IST
The government on Sunday decided not to increase petrol and diesel prices.
Apparently heeding to the Left parties' suggestion to wait for the outcome of the US presidential election which would have a sobering effect on international crude oil prices, petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told reporters in New Delhi "prices are not being raised today."
The 33 percent rise in cost of raw material (crude oil) since August 1, when the prices of petrol and diesel in the country were last revised, required petrol prices to be raised by Rs 1.22 a litre and diesel prices by Rs 2.24 per litre.
Aiyar said excessive volatality in the international oil market, which has seen crude touch a record high of $56 a barrel earlier this month, was perhaps influenced by measures the US was supposed to take to check its fiscal and trade deficits but have not been taken due to the November 4 presidential elections.
"There is a general perception that crude prices will ease after the elections," he said. Asked if the decision not to increase petrol and diesel prices, which would cost the public sector oil firms Rs 956 cr this fortnight, was due to the Left pressure, Aiyar said "today being a Sunday, we have not got full opportunity to talk to everybody. Consultations will continue."
The Left parties, though not averse to a hike in petrol prices and a moderate increase in diesel prices, wanted the government to hold the price line for another fortnight hoping the US presidential elections could have a sobering effect on global crude prices.
More reports from Delhi
Read about: Assembly Election 2003 | Attack on Parliament