Jaipur, January 19: Ruling out roll-back of the “small” 45 paisa increase in diesel prices, Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Saturday said bulk consumers like Railways will have to find their own budget to buy the fuel at market price.
“No, no, there is no question of roll back,” Mr. Moily, who is in Jaipur to attend the Congress brainstorming session, told reporters.
The government had two days back raised diesel prices after a gap of four months by a marginal 45 paisa per litre for retail users like car and truck owners and hiked the rate for bulk users like defence and Railways by about Rs. 10, to cut subsidy bill.
After including local sales tax or VAT, price of diesel for retail users went up by 50 paisa to Rs. 47.65 a litre in Delhi.
Bulk users, which consumer around 17.77 per cent of the total diesel sales in the country, will pay Rs. 56.88 a litre in Delhi.
The government has refused to call its January 17 decision deregulation even though it has permitted oil companies to raise diesel prices by the same quantum from time to time till the over Rs 9 per litre loss on the fuel is wiped out.
Mr. Moily said diesel and petrol had been deregulated by the BJP-led NDA government in 2002, but the UPA government had continues to subsidise diesel, the nation's most consumed fuel.
“This (deregulation) has been going on even during the days of NDA,” he said. “(There were demands that) there should be deregulation of diesel and this is the only commodity where we have the regulations.”
Asked about the impact of the decision on Railways, Moily said it will “largely” have no impact as bulk buyers purchase other inputs and fuels at commercial rates.
“They are all running commercially and ultimately they have to find their own budget,” he said.
Railways buy 2.428 million tonnes of diesel annually and will have to shell out Rs. 2,727 crore more for buying the fuel at market price. State transport undertakings would have to shell out an additional Rs. 2,462 crore for buying 2.192 million tonnes of diesel at market price.
Defence, the third largest bulk buyer, would pay an additional Rs 299 crore for purchase of their annual 267,000 tonnes of diesel.