FM opposes hiking LPG ceiling

Finance minister P Chidambaram today opposed any increase in the ceiling of supply of subsidised cooking gas, as extra three refills, suggested by the petroleum ministry, would cost the national exchequer an additional Rs 3,000 crore this financial year.

Sources said the issue would now be taken up with political leaders, read Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, before piloting the proposal to the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs (CCPA).

Chidambaram conveyed his resistance during his meeting with oil minister M Veerappa Moily.

Moily then held a two-hour long brainstorming session with heads of the three state-run fuel retailers on the issue of raising the annual cap of six LPG per household to nine. The three said they were willing provided finance ministry reimbursed the losses.

The extra subsidy is estimated at Rs 3,000 crore for the remaining part of the current fiscal and about Rs 9,000 crore annually at current prices. The companies are losing over Rs 400 crore per day on selling diesel, LPG and kerosene below cost.

The CCPA, on September 13, restricted the supply of subsidised LPG to six cylinders of 14.2 kg each to every household in a year. Any extra refill has to be purchased at market rates which are more than double the subsidised price of Rs 410.50 per cylinder in Delhi.

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