Dehradun: Citing international markets as the major reason for petrol price hike in India, Government on Tuesday added to the woes of people by saying that hike is necessary to reduce the burden on the oil companies.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy said it is necessary for the government to hike the petrol prices to give relief to the oil companies as they are already suffering a deficit burden of Rs 4 per litre.

While addressing media persons on Tuesday, the Union Minister, who was here to attend the convocation ceremony of University of Petroleum and Energy studies, held international markets responsible for the hike in petrol prices.

Elaborating further, he said even at the international rates, Indian companies are bearing the burden of Rs 4 per litre due to which it becomes necessary for the government and the companies to surge the rates to meet the demand and reduce their deficits.
Any hike in petrol prices lies ultimately in the hands of the companies, Reddy added.

On being asked that whether or not the petrol prices will be hiked again in the near future, the Minister remained non-committal and said he would answer the question after he reaches Delhi.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal urged the Union Minister to supply more gas connections in the state as in the hilly areas people use wood for cooking. Pokhriyal said the state is inclined to prevent the forests which constitute nearly 70 percent of the state.

Assuring the state government, Reddy said more connections will be provided to local residents by next year. The Petroleum Minister also assured that in the next 4 years, at least 75 percent of the houses will support domestic LPG and promised to increase the quota of new gas connections in hilly areas.

Further, he revealed that the government is also planning to import gas from other countries as the Centre wants to meet the demand of at least 75 percent gas connections in the country by 2015.