Govt retreats on LPG to salve petrol burn

Govt retreats on LPG to salve petrol burn

Ministers meet to limit LPG quota put off

Govt retreats  on LPG to salve petrol burn

An Empower­ed Group of Ministers (EGoM) was scheduled to meet during the day to firm up a decision on the pending proposal to limit the number of cooking gas cylinders supplied to households and possible increase in their price.

With the postponement, the UPA government may have ensured that its two key allies— the DMK and Trinamool Congress—do not opp­o­­se the petrol price hike any more.

The DMK and TMC on Friday opposed the rise in the pr­i­c­es of a litre of petrol marketed by public sector oil companies by Rs 3.14 to Rs 3.32.

With pr­e­ssure from the allies mounti­ng, the EGoM led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee decided to postpone the meeting, sources said.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R P N Singh said the meeting was to discuss the proposal of li­miting the supply of subsi­dised LPG cylinders to four to six per household in a year to cut down the government’s su­bsidy outgo by over Rs 12,000 crore annually.

“It was not to consider hiking  LPG prices, as some sections of media reported,” he added. Fertiliser Minister M K Alagiri of the DMK and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi of the TMC are members of the panel.

“We will do everyth­ing to ensure a rollback in the petrol prices. We were keen to attend the EGoM and register our protest today (Friday),” Trivedi said.

“Mamata is a responsible leader and will not do anything drastic, but we will seek a rollback. The UPA will not be affected,” he added.

DMK leader E V K S Elangovan said: “We are against any rise in the LPG price because it will affect the lower middle and poor classes. We have expressed our concerns and demanded a rollback on petrol prices.”

Along with the UPA allies, the Opposition BJP and Left parties, too, opposed the hike. There were demonstrations in many cities against the increase. The EGoM was scheduled  to consider giving every household only four to six LPG cylinders at a subsidised price of Rs 395.35 in Delhi and asking them to pay the market price of Rs 666 per cylinder for any requirement beyond that.

The limited supply of subsidised LPG was meant for those who own a car, two-wheeler, house or figure in the income tax list, according to the proposal. Now,  the records of LPG distributors of public sector companies show that a vast number of households are taking as many as 20 to 30 cylinders per household each year. LPG for commercial use is sold at the market price and packed in different cylinders.

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