Chennai, June 16;Instead of resorting to frequent hikes in petroleum prices, the Centre should take steps to explore new oil and gas fields and control the falling rupee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said on Sunday.
Referring to the latest petrol price hike, Jayalalithaa demanded its immediate roll back and urged the Centre to change the way fuel prices were fixed.
“Considering the welfare of the nation, the Centre should take steps to change the way petrol prices are fixed. (It should) explore oil and gas fields in the country and prevent depreciation of the rupee (against the US Dollar),” she said in a statement here.
Petrol prices were hiked by Rs. 2.54 per litre on Saturday, the second increase this month, as a falling rupee made imports costlier.
“The decision (of increasing petrol prices)… will lead to a further increase in the prices of essential commodities, depreciate the value of the rupee and erode the Indian economy,” she said. She wanted the petrol price hike to be rolled back immediately.
On Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily’s statement that those in his office were “threatened” by oil import lobbies who wanted to deter them from taking decisions that could cut the $160 billion import bill, she said that, “the minister himself making such statements is a threat to the nation’s security”.