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`Fuel prices may be revised after Budget'

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JUNE 19. The Union Petroleum Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, has ruled out any roll- back in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG for the present. However, he indicated that price adjustments might be considered depending on the revision of excise and the duty structure likely to be effected by the Finance Minister in the coming budget.

The increase in the price of petroleum products announced a few days back, has been opposed by the Left parties, which support the United Progressive Alliance Government, as well as the Opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Talking to presspersons here today, Mr. Aiyar said the Government was forced to increase the price as the international price of crude oil had increased substantially. Since January this year, the oil price had reached record highs not witnessed even during the Gulf war.

Disputing the Bharatiya Janata Party's contention that the National Democratic Alliance Government had dismantled the administrative price mechanism of petroleum products, Mr. Aiyar said that if one looked at oil prices in the last six years, it would prove them wrong. He said the previous Government had not increased the price since January as by that time it had planned to advance the general elections.

Reacting to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's criticism of the oil price hike, he said the Centre was receptive to suggestions which would reduce the price.

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