Central panel wants Rs 100 hike in LPG prices

Government-constituted panel on oil pricing reforms Wednesday suggested total decontrol of pricing of auto fuels and a substantial hike in prices of kerosense and cooking gas.

The committee headed by economist Kirit Parikh suggested that for petrol and diesel, the price increase could be of Rs.3-4 per litre, while kerosene prices could go up by Rs.6 per litre and cooking gas by Rs.100 per cylinder.

"There is no way we can continue with the current pricing policy. The current under-recoveries for this fiscal are estimated to be Rs.40,000 crore ($8 billion)," said Parikh while discussing the recommendations here.

"If the crude prices were at $80 per barrel, the under-recoveries have been estimated at Rs.160,000 crore ($32 billion) in 2020. And if the prices rise to $220 per barrel, then the under-recoveries will go up to Rs.400,000 crore ($80 billion)," he added.

The committee also recommended a level playing field for all players in the market, whether state-owned or private.

On further steps expected from the government on the report, Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan said: "We have got a directive from the prime minister to process the report immediately. We will be going through the report and processing it to put it before the minister and then the council of ministers."

Sundareshan indicated that the recommendations of the report may be put before the cabinet in a week to 10 days.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora ducked questions when asked if the the government had the political will to enforce the recommendations.

"It is dangerous for me to reply," Deora said jokingly. (IANS)

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