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Dual diesel prices at petrol pumps tough to implement: Chidambaram

New Delhi:

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said it is difficult to charge a market price for luxury cars and a subsidised price for farmers and transport trucks at the same petrol pump.

"We have knocked our heads together to see if it is possible to have dual prices of diesel at the same retail outlet (petrol pump)," he said replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

The government had last month introduced market rates for bulk consumers like railways and state road transport corporations, which are over Rs 11 per litre more than the price at which diesel is available at petrol pumps.

However, at petrol pumps there is no differentiation among consumers and farmers as well as luxury car owners get diesel at subsidised rates.

Reacting to demands for allowing state road transport corporations to buy subsidised diesel, Mr Chidambaram said having dual rates for bulk and retail consumers was a "policy decision taken in order to keep diesel subsidy at reasonable levels."

Members stated that state public transport corporations were finding it difficult to buy diesel at market rates.

The Finance Minister said central taxes on petrol and diesel have come down between 2007 and 2012. Central excise duty on petrol has come down from Rs 14.66 a litre as on March 1, 2007 to Rs 9.46 on September 14, 2012 while the same on diesel has declined from Rs 4.69 a litre to Rs 3.56 per litre.

He said while the Central government garnered Rs 95,349 crore in 2011-12 through customs and excise levy on petroleum products, state governments together collected more in taxes than the Centre this fiscal year.

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