Pranab backs hike, but hopes Trinamool's complaints will be resolved

Last Updated : 05 November 2011, 12:26 IST
Last Updated : 05 November 2011, 12:26 IST

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Mukherjee said that the combined losses for the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for April to September this year were Rs.12,000 crore and the financial condition of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was also gloomy.

Meanwhile, describing the Trinamool, the second largest party in the Congress-led ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), as a valued partner, Mukherjee said he found “nothing wrong” in Banerjee’s party seeking to meet the prime minister over their grievances.

Asked about the Trinamool Congress threat to quit the coalition, he said at his residence here: "I have come to know the decisions of our valued partner Trinamool Congress. They are aggrieved. They will talk to the prime minister and I think their grievances will be removed."

"It is quite legitimate for any political party which is a constituent unit of the UPA to express their concern on any issue and to discuss with the prime minister. They have done exactly that."

“They have stated that after the PM comes back (from the G20 summit in Cannes) they will take up some of their concerns. I do not find anything wrong in it,” Mukherjee earlier told media persons on the sidelines of a programme at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences here.

However, the finance minister supported the hike by the oil companies saying if they make such losses, they would not be in a position to import crude oil for the country.

Stressing that the government has taken note of the protests launched by various political parties, Mukherjee said they were not ready to listen to economic reasons.
“We have taken note of the protests launched by various political parties. Naturally whenever the prices increase and it will hit the people they will react. They will not listen to economic reasons (on the petrol price hike).”

“But there are certain things which we have to keep in mind. This is the decision in the oil companies’ domain. Oil marketing companies have given adequate reasons why they had to do it because they import crude petroleum products for us.

"Combined losses for the BPCL and HPCL for the first six months that is April to September is Rs.12,000 crore and IOC is also likely to be in red. If the oil companies are in the red, will they be able to raise resources from the market? Would they be in a position to import crude oil," he asked.

"Petroleum companies thought that their financial situation is such that they would not be able to import the crude petroleum if their financial situation is totally broken,” he added.

Informing that in the last financial year the central government had provided the under recovery subsidy to the oil companies of Rs.78,190 crore when the average crude oil price was $85 per barrel, the finance minister said: "Today the average price up to now is $110 per barrel. Therefore, the under-recovery subsidy this year at this rate will be going to be Rs.132,000 crore."

Published 05 November 2011, 08:24 IST

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