Millennium Post

Govt does not interfere in fuel pricing: Pradhan

New Delhi: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan Tuesday said the government does not interfere in the pricing of petroleum products which had been deregulated, allowing state-owned retailers to fix rates based on the international benchmark.

The comment came as criticism mounted on the move by the government to ask state-owned oil PSUs to subsidise petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre to make retail price cut look bigger after it cut excise duty on the fuels by Rs 1.50 a litre.

Global oil major BP, which secured a licence to open petrol pumps in the country but hasn't started fuel retailing yet, Monday said: "Price controls will not be good for the fuel sector."

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said slow decision-making had in the past curbed its investment in the country and was not good for "brand India".

"The government has no business to interfere in pricing mechanism of petroleum products which has been left to the oil companies to decide on a daily basis," Pradhan told reporters on sidelines of the 'India Energy Forum' here.

The government, he said, has a role in taxation and it had on October 5 cut excise duty by Rs 1.50 per litre.

This coupled with Re 1 per litre subsidy by oil PSUs took the reduction in retail rates to Rs 2.50 per litre.

However, the relentless price hike has wiped away all cut benefits on diesel and most on petrol.

Petrol price Tuesday was raised by 11 paise a litre and diesel by 23 paise, according to a price notification issued by state-owned fuel retailers.

In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 82.83 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 75.69. In the past 11 days, diesel prices have risen by Rs 2.74 per litre, more than wiping away the excise duty cut and oil firm subsidy. Petrol price has during the period risen by Rs 1.33 per litre.

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