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Oil Minister Pradhan says no directive from govt to defer price hike

Friday, April 13, 2018

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government has not asked state-owned oil firms to defer raising the retail price of petrol and diesel ahead of elections in Karnataka.

Incidentally, oil firms after keeping rates unchanged for a day, yesterday cut petrol price by 4 paisa per litre and by 3 paisa in case of diesel despite firming international oil rates.

The prices at petrol pumps of state-owned fuel retailers like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) were cut by 1-3 paisa every day in the first fortnight of December last year and rates started moving up immediately after polling for assembly elections in Gujarat concluded on December 14, leading to speculation that government may have asked oil companies to hold on to the prices.

"There is no such direction (to hold price hike)," Pradhan told reporters here.

He said government has freed fuel pricing in a bid to bring competition and there is no going back on it. "It is well planned strategy of government that oil companies are fixing the fuel prices on the basis of international oil prices. If we dont bring competitor in the long term, then there would be no solution. Government has given freedom to oil companies," he said.

Pradhan said oil companies heads had yesterday stated that they have not got any direction from the government.

"There are no directions from government to them," he said. The government reportedly had informally directed state-owned fuel retailers not to raise petrol and diesel prices in the run-up to the December 2017 assembly elections in Gujarat.

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