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Petro goods export ban: Govt differs with SP

July 16, 2008 15:30 IST

The government is unlikely to ban export of petroleum products or review the export-oriented status of Reliance Industries Jamnagar refinery, as has been demanded by United Progressive Alliance government's new ally, the Samajwadi Party.

Petroleum products are India's highest foreign exchange earners, surpassing gems and jewellery and the government is unwilling to forgo it from export of products such as diesel, jet fuel and petrol, a senior government functionary said.

"Anyone can make a demand and we in the government will consider based on the merits of it and in this case the merits are not in favour of banning exports," he said.

Meanwhile Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said that he has not received any representation on withdrawal of EoU (export-oriented unit) status to any industry.

"He (Amar Singh) had met me, but did not discuss any EoU issue with me," Nath said.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, as part of the bargain to save the UPA government, has demanded that incentives to Reliance Industries' Jamnagar refinery be scrapped and exports from the unit stopped.

India is surplus in refining capacity with its 19 refineries totalling 149.5 million tons in installed capacity while the domestic fuel demand stands at only 121 million tons.

On the demand for withdrawing EoU status to Jamnagar refinery, the official said the government cannot single out any particular unit.

"For that to happen, we need to take a broader policy decision on EoU's across the board. There cannot be a policy for one particular industry or a unit. If there has to be a change in the EoU policy, it has to be applicable for all," he said.

Not only Reliance Industries, but even public sector companies like Indian Oil Corporation, export their surplus products. If the government were to ban exports they too would be affected.

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