No hike in fuel prices for now, says Jaipal Reddy

Minister of petroleum and natural gas S Jaipal Reddy has ruled out any immediate hike in fuel prices, despite bulging under-recoveries of state-run oil marketing companies.

Talking to the media on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi, the minister said, ''there is no immediate plans to hike oil prices now.'' He, however added that difficult and painful decisions need to be taken to reduce under-recoveries of oil marketing companies. He did not elaborate.

Replying to a question, Reddy said that as a minister, it was his duty to bring out the facts in front of the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs, but it was for the CCPA to take a final call on the issue.

Speaking on the occasion, R S Butola, chairman of Indian Oil Corporation, said oil companies are currently losing nearly Rs6 per litre on petrol sales and pitched for hike in petrol prices. Butola said, he was in consultations with his colleagues at other oil marketing companies and stakeholders on the issue.

State-run oil marketing companies are losing Rs550 crore everyday on under-recoveries as a result of higher crude prices in the global markets.

Meanwhile, the price of the Indian basket of crude in the international market marginally declined to $112.14 a barrel against $113.97 a barrel on the previous trading day (Tuesday).

In rupee terms also, the price of crude oil declined to Rs6,268.63 per barrel on Wednesday compared to Rs6,329.89 per barrel on Tuesday. This was due to a fall in the price in dollar terms. The rupee, however, was lower at Rs55.90 a dollar against 55.54 a dollar on Tuesday.