New Delhi: State-owned oil companies on Thursday  effected yet another steep hike in petrol price, by Rs 1.80 per litre with effect from Thursday midnight, the 5th increase this year, coming on top of falling rupee and rising cost of imported crude.

OilMin for urgent action to help PSUs

Petrol price to impact inflation: Pranab     

Petrol price in Delhi will cost Rs 68.64 per litre, up from Rs 66.64 a litre. The retail selling price in different cities will vary according to the local sales tax.
     
"Crude oil has been more or less steady but rupee depreciation is a cause of concern. We have been forced to increase prices because of rupee depreciation," BPCL Chairman and Managing Director R K Singh said. The base price has been increased by Rs 1.50 per litre.

"Rupee has depreciated from Rs 46.25 a dollar to Rs 49.40, increasing our cost of imports," IOC Director (Finance) P K Goyal said.
     
Sources said Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy consulted Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee before oil companies were given a green signal to raise prices.

The heads of three oil companies ---IOC, BPCL and HPCL--met here this evening to decide on the price hike after they got a firm green signal from the oil ministry, they added.
      
This is the second hike in petrol prices in less than two months and it came on a day when the food inflation rose "dangerously" to 12.21 per cent for the week ended October 22.

Oil marketing companies had earlier hiked petrol prices by Rs 3.14 a litre on September 16 when the rupee was ruling at about 48 to a US dollar.
    
The government had in June last year deregulated or freed petrol from all price controls but the retail rates have not moved in line with cost as high inflation rate forced the oil companies to seek 'advice' from parent oil ministry before revising rates.

This is the sixth price increase since petrol price was deregulated, after excluding minor changes resulting from duty changes and increase in dealers commission.
     
On Wednesday Reddy had met Mukherjee to appraise him of the precarious financial health of oil companies. On Thursday, the oil ministry sent a detailed note to the Cabinet Secretariat seeking urgent action on deteriorating financial health of oil PSUs.
     
The Oil Ministry in its note pointed that Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum together will lose about Rs 1,30,000 crore in revenue this fiscal on selling
diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government-controlled rates.
     
Sources said the three companies are losing Rs 333 crore per day on selling fuel below cost.
    
State-owned oil firms are currently losing Rs 9.27 per litre on diesel, Rs 26.94 per litre on kerosene sold through the public distribution system (PDS) and Rs 260.50 per 14.2-kg
LPG cylinder supplied to households for cooking purposes.
    
While the loss on these three products are compensated through a combination of government cash subsidy and upstream oil firm doleouts, no such mechanism exists for making good the losses on petrol as the product is deregulated.
    
The three firms are virtually living on borrowed money as they had to raise funds to meet even working capital requirement in the absence of fuel selling price not meeting even operating expenses.

The oil ministry had also requested for an early meeting of the high-powered ministerial panel to decide on ways to deal with the crisis.
    
The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) meeting is being sought before the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 22.
    
The ministerial panel is essentially a consensus building body of the Congress-led UPA government and comprises of key allies like DMK, TMC and NC. The allies had in September
scuttled plans to limit supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to 4-6 per household a year with a view to reduce subsidies.

BJP terms petro hike as "midnight deceit"

The BJP alleged that the hike in petrol prices was yet another act of "midnight deceit" by
the UPA and insisted that the common man would not spare the dispensation led by the "economist" Prime Minister for its arrogance.
       
"This is yet another midnight deceit with the people of India. The Congress party has unleashed a terror of a different kind on the common man. While the Congress completely remains insensitive the Prime Minister and the government have once again cheated the people," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
       
He pointed out that this hike of Rs 1.82 per litre of petrol has come at a time when the country is already reeling under a whopping food inflation which has remained untamed for the last three years and overall inflation remains unabated.
       
"The government cannot be spared anymore and it is high time to crush their arrogance. The BJP wonders whether this repeated raising of prices in the last three months by over Rs 7, is a reaction against the middle class raising a pitch and a banner of revolt against corruption," Rudy said.
       
He maintained that these appear to be attempts by the Congress led government to teach the common man a lesson.

"The BJP is of a firm opinion that the Economist PM has shamed the nation once again," Rudy said.

Trinamool unhappy over petrol hike

UPA ally Trinamool Congress expressed unhappiness over the petrol price hike and said the
party has called an emergency meeting of its parliamentary party on Friday to discuss the issue.

"We are unhappy over the hike of petrol price," Trinamool General Secretary Mukul Roy said. Roy said an emergency meeting of the Trinamool parliamentary party has been called on Friday to discuss the issue. Asked whether there was any possibility of Trinamool quitting the Union ministry or withdrawing support to the UPA government in protest against the hike, Roy said, "How can I say this...I am not going to say anything more except that we are unhappy over the decision."
   
Oil companies today hiked petrol prices by Rs 1.80 per litre to offset the fall in rupee that has made imports of crude costlier.

Jaya slams Centre for petrol price hike   

Slamming the UPA Government for the latest petrol price hike, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J
Jayalalithaa said it amounted to adding insult to injury as the people were already suffering due to spiralling prices.
   
"The Centre is frequently hiking fuel prices, especially at a time when its wrong economic policies and mismanagement has resulted in spiralling prices of all commodities," she
said.

Lambasting the Centre for the frequent revision of fuel prices, she said it was "least bothered" about the impact of such hike on common people.
   
"The latest revision will mainly affect two-wheeler users from middle-class. Instead of taking price-control measures, the Centre is only implementing prices-escalation measures,"
she said in a statement here.

Condemning the hike of Rs 1.82, she demanded its immediate rollback saying Thursday’s move amounted to "adding insult to injury of the people, already reeling under the impact of the prices situation."

Petrol price not fixed by government, says Montek
    
On a day when state-run oil companies hiked petrol prices, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that the price of the fuel is not fixed by the government.

"The petrol price is a decontrolled price. Those prices are not set by the government," Ahluwalia said in an interview to private news channel NDTV-PROFIT on the sidelines of G-20 meeting here.
   
State-run oil marketing companies Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum increased petrol prices by Rs 1.80 per litre with effect from midnight.
    
This is the second hike in petrol prices in less than two months and it came on a day when the food inflation rose "dangerously" to 12.21 per cent for the week ended October 22.
    
On the likely impact of this decision of oil firms on the skyrocketing inflation, he said, "Controlling inflation is a concern for policy makers and representatives of the government have said that inflation is too high and we should bring it under control."
    
"What the government needs to do, is to look at the overall rate of inflation and bring it down," he added. The headline inflation measured in terms of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has been above 9 per cent mark since December last year and stood at 9.72 per cent in the month of September.

(Agencies)