CPI-M amenable to petrol price hike

New Delhi, Oct 29 | Updated: Oct 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
The CPI-M has finally agreed to allow the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to go ahead with a hike in petrol, and possibly diesel, prices.

Coming out of a three-day politbureau meeting which began on Friday, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said he would convey his partys willingness to give the government the green signal to go ahead with a price increase in some petoleum products during his meeting with petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday evening.

However, he reiterated that they would not allow the common man to be burdened with a hike in LPG and kerosene prices, but would not oppose a hike in petrol and diesel prices, albeit reluctantly.

Mr Yechury said the Left party had agreed to concede to the governments request due to the phenomenal increase in international crude prices over the last few months, which has seen the price of crude cross the $55 per barrel mark.u uEarlier, the Left parties had opposed any move to increase prices of petroleum products, insisting that the government take up the burden by lowering customs and excise duties on petroleum and crude imports. However, although international oil prices have come down slightly on Thursday, they are still over $50 per barrel.

When this government was formed, oil prices were in the early forties. Now they are well over $50. We understand the government is under tremendous pressure. Now, with crude prices well over $50 dollar a barrel, the government has a valid case to hike the prices, Mr Yechury said. Therefore, they have agreed to allow prices of some petroleum products, viz, petrol and perhaps diesel, to be increased, he said.