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With Fuel Prices Touching New Highs, Petroleum Minister Promises "Solution" Soon
Petrol and diesel prices were raised for the seventh time this month, drawing criticism from opposition parties which reminded the BJP of PM Narendra Modi's 2014 campaign pitch.
New Delhi: Faced with mounting criticism over the seventh hike in fuel prices this month that pushed petrol and diesel rates to record highs, the government on Sunday promised a "solution" soon. The details of the plan, however, were scarce. "I accept that people of India and especially the middle-class families have to suffer a lot due to price hike of oil. It's not in our hand. There is less production of oil in OPEC countries. The Indian government will soon come out with a solution," petroleum minister Dhamendra Pradhan told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
He also blamed the US pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal. "The fight between America and Iran is the most effective thing which leads to price hike of crude oil in the International market," Mr Pradhan said.
After a 19-day gap for the May 12 Karnataka elections, state-run oil companies began raising oil prices earlier this month. With the latest increase, petrol has touched an all-time high, breaching the previous peak of Rs. 76.06 in Delhi on September 14, 2013. Diesel rates are also at the all-time high level.
Opposition leaders like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed their concern over the fuel price hike.
The Congress too joined the chorus. "The Modi Govt continues to fleece Indians on fuel prices. Petrol price in Mumbai has crossed Rs. 84/L. This is the highest ever price for petrol in India (sic)," the party's official Twitter handle posted.
Before the 2014 national elections, the BJP had made fuel rates a key issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi fiercely targeting the Congress' Manmohan Singh-led government for hikes in prices.