Minister denies govt forced oil companies to stop price hikes

The government has not directed state-owned oil companies to avoid raising the retail price of petrol and diesel because of elections in Karnataka next month, said petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

In an interview to a television channel, Pradhan denied the government had given instructions to the oil companies to absorb the fuel price hike. Unconfirmed reports have claimed that the government informally directed the three state-owned oil firms – Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum (HPC) – not to raise the rates of petrol and diesel.
State-owned oil companies have also denied that the government has asked them to avoid raising the retail price of petrol and diesel because of elections in Karnataka next month.
The oil companies have been hiking the local prices in line with the spurt in the international price of the commodities for quite some time now.
IOC chairman Sanjiv Singh told reporters that the government has not instructed the company on stopping the daily price revision. HPC chairman and managing director M K Surana said he was not aware of any such government directive.
Of course, the share of all three government-owned oil companies have declined on the stock markets after reports surfaced of the government having asked them not to raise prices.Unconfirmed reports claim that the government has directed the three oil firms to bear a loss of up to Rs1 a litre on sale of diesel and petrol.
Global oil prices have been surging in recent months and have peaked at $73 a barrel. Indian oil companies have since last June adjusted fuel prices in line with global prices. In the past, the prices were revised on a fortnightly basis.