NEW DELHI: Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee’s outburst against her own party member and railway minister Dinesh Trivedi for raising passenger fares has demoralised state oil companies as they fear the government would not be able to raise fuel prices despite mounting losses.
Senior executives of Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum said the firms were losing over 5 a litre on petrol. The fuel has been decontrolled but companies have not been able to rasie prices for over two months due to the oil ministry’s tacit directive. Companies had last revised petrol prices on December 1 when it was reduced by 0.78 a litre to 65.64 per litre in Delhi.
Government and industry officials say companies would not be allowed to raise fuel prices during the current session of the parliament till the general budget is passed.
“There is no word for petrol price hike. We are forced to sell it at a loss and we will seek compensation from the government,” a senior executive said requesting anonymity. Oil ministry officials say that state refiners are demanding a compensation of about 4,000 crore for selling petrol below market rates.
Officials said raising prices of controlled products such as diesel, kerosene and cooking gas was even more difficult. “There is no political will to convene the meeting of the empowered group of ministers on fuel prices despite unprecedented under-recovery, which will cross 140,000 crore by March 31,” said an official on anonymity.