Moily develops cold feet, puts LPG hike on hold within hours
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Hours after oil marketing companies announced a Rs 26.50 increase in the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinders Thursday, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily apparently developed cold feet and put the decision on hold pending a review.
A 14.2 kg cylinder would have cost Rs 922 in the capital after the increase but late in the evening, Moily asked officials of Indian Oil Corp, the largest oil marketing firm, to keep the decision in abeyance, and called a meeting on Friday to discuss it, sources said.
They attributed the reversal to the approaching Diwali festival and assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday and in Gujarat next month.
The price increase would have meant that consumers who have used up their quota of three subsidised cylinders after September 14 would have to buy refills at Rs 922 in Delhi, Rs 950 in Kolkata, Rs 906.50 in Mumbai and Rs 915 in Chennai.
On September 13, the government had capped the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to six per year per household.
For the rest of this financial year, however, it had said consumers could get three subsidised cylinders irrespective of how many cylinders they had used so far this year.
On October 1, when Jaipal Reddy was petroleum minister, oil marketing firms were allowed to raise the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinders by Rs 127 per cylinder to Rs 883.50, one of the reasons that provoked Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress to walk out of the UPA.
Public sector oil marketing firms revise the price of non-subsidised cooking gas on the first day of every month, and Thursday's increase was mandated by firming international prices, officials said.
But the decision was attacked by opposition parties, with the BJP asking the government and the ruling Congress party why they were unable to control the price of LPG.
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