New Delhi: After burning a hole in the common man’s pocket by hiking the petrol prices, the UPA government is all set to increase the price of diesel and cooking gas. The reports suggest that the only reason that the Central government is delaying the inevitable is its dilemma whether it should hike the prices before the second anniversary of UPA-2 on May 22 or after it.

The sources say that the price hike of petroleum products is likely to be announced after the second anniversary celebrations. Even the Congress does not want to spoil the mood before the celebrations.

The government waited for the Assembly election results before announcing the petrol price hike. The winning streak in Assam, West Bengal and Kerala assembly elections has added to the positive mood in the government, and it does not want to spoil the celebrations, especially because the first anniversary of UPA-1 was not observed due to Mangalore plane crash.

Union Finance Minister on Sunday said the EGoM will decide on the cooking gas and diesel price hike.

Sources say while diesel is likely to become dearer by Rs 3-4 per litre and cooking gas cylinder would get dearer by Rs 25-30.

The government oil companies are facing loss of Rs 16 on diesel per litre and Rs 320 on cooking gas. They are also incurring loss on Kerosene at Rs 26 per litre but there is no proposal for any hike in this regard.

The hike in fuel prices would increase the rate of inflation too.

Prices of cooking gas and diesel were increased in June last year when the price of crude oil in international market was USD 68 per barrel, which now is around USD 110 per barrel.

In the intervening period, the government oil companies have increased petrol prices nine times.

It is said that the government would also consider de-regulating diesel prices. The Planning Commission and Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council have been mounting pressure on the government in that regard.

JPN/Bureau