Reddy defends petrol price hike, says govt was not consulted

"There is no question of my government being consulted" before the second steep hike in as many months was announced yesterday, he said in an interview to a private TV channel.
"Oil companies are refusing to consult me... how do I consult anybody (before the hike is announced)," he said responding to a question on allies like Trinamool Congress (TMC) complaining that they are being taken into confidence before the decision.

Reddy said he would talk to West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee on her unhappiness over the petrol price increase.

"She is a very valued colleague of mine in politics. She is one of the most respected leaders of UPA. I will talk to her," he said refusing to comment on her threat to walk out of the coalition over the price hike issue.

The minister said he "understands" and "appreciates" the anger of people against the fifth price hike this year. Oil companies had raised rates as crude imports became costlier because the rupee's value had fallen from Rs 46.29 to a US dollar to Rs 49.40, he added.

Re one depreciation "means loss of Rs 8,000 crore to state oil companies. For the full year, we are facing prospect of Rs 24,000 crore loss merely on account of depreciation," he said.

He said the oil companies had merely "exercised their right to get full price of the production" by raising petrol price.

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