The centre today ruled out hike in petroleum prices in near future despite the rise in crude oil prices in the international market.
"The UPA government at the Centre would always protect the interest of 'Aam Aadmi'. Hence the Centre would not go for hike in petroleum prices in the near future," Union minister of State for petroleum and natural gas, Jitin Prasada said here.
He said the viability of oil companies was also to be taken into consideration but the interest of the common man was on the top of UPA's agenda.
While talking to newspersons, he said it was the concern for the common man that the central government was giving subsidy to the tune of Rs.29,000 crores for kerosene and further Rs.19000 crores for petroleum. It was again the pro-people approach of the Congress that the petroleum prices were curtailed by Rs 5 twice.
With regard to the deregulation of petroleum products prices, he said the matter was still under Centre's consideration.
"A decision in this regard is to be taken after due consideration," the minister said.
Mr Prasad said the new government would lay special emphasis on the oil and natural gas exploration so that the foreign exchange of the country could be saved. Referring to future plans of his ministry, he said, the government planned to provide piped gas supply in all the major cities of the country.
In reply to a question, he categorically stated that there was no shortage of LPG in the country. The government was looking into the complaints of LPG shortage in various parts of the country.