Diesel price is lower here than neighbouring countries: Hasan

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Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Friday said diesel price in the country is lower than that in neighbouring countries and there is no reason to get confused.

“On this context, there is no scope for increasing the prices of other products in the country,” he said while exchanging views with journalists at his Minto road residence here this evening.

Hasan, also the Awami League joint general secretary, said vested quarters are spreading misleading information due to the recent diesel price hike in the country.

But, in fact, the price of diesel in the country was Taka 68 per litre in 2013 and later in 2016, it reduced to Taka 65 per litre, he said.

In the last five and a half years, the price of diesel and kerosene did not increase in the country, he added.

Hasan said Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) was incurring a huge loss in diesel due to the increase in fuel price in the international market since the beginning of the current fiscal.

Presenting the data of fuel prices, he said the BPC provided subsidy of Taka 2.97 in diesel per litre in June this year, while Taka 3.7 in diesel per litre in July, Taka 1.58 per litre in August, Taka 5.62 per litre in September and Taka 13.01 per litre in October last.

In the last five and a half months, the BPC provided subsidy of Tk 1,147.6 crore in diesel, the information minister said.

At the same time, he said, the value of one dollar has increased to Taka 85.75 this month from Taka 79 in 2016 and that is why the BPC has to pay extra money in paying bills of fuel in dollars.

Hasan said despite decreasing fuel price in India, the price of diesel is Rs 90 (Taka 104) per litre in West Bengal, while it is Rs 98.42 (Taka 114) in Delhi.

In Nepal, the price of diesel is Nepalese Rs 112.39 (Taka 81), he said, adding that its price is less than that in neighbouring countries, he said.

“That is why diesel is being smuggled to neighbouring countries from our country,” he added.

The AL joint general secretary said the government is continuously providing a huge subsidy in fuel and it is being smuggled abroad due to low prices of fuel in the country.

The diesel price was increased to check its smuggling and there is no way to get confused, he said.

Considering the reality, Hasan said, all should remain alert so that the commoners do not face any trouble and the prices of other products do not go up on this contest, otherwise the government will take stern action to this end.

Replying to a question on the BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s remarks on fuel price hike and local government elections, the information minister said: “I will request Mr Mirza Fakhrul to comment after looking at the data. There is always a bit of tension in local government polls. Even then, our elections are still peaceful compared to our neighbouring countries”.