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Kejriwal questions CNG rate hike, says will try to roll it back

Ghaziabad, Dec 27 (PTI): Delhi’s chief minister designate, Arvind Kejriwal, said Friday he will examine whether the decision to increase the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) can be rolled back after he takes charge on Saturday.

“What was the need to increase CNG prices when a new government is to take over in Delhi? It raises suspicions about their intention. I will look at the files once I take over tomorrow and see if the hike can be rolled back,” Kejriwal said here.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader will be sworn in as Chief Minister on Saturday.

CNG fuels Delhi’s public transport, from buses to autorickshaws. According to Indraprastha Gas Ltd, the sole supplier of CNG in Delhi, 7,20,000 vehicles run on CNG in Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.

Autorickshaw drivers have already threatened a strike to press for higher fares. A significant section of auto drivers had extended support to the AAP in the election.

Kejriwal has asked them not to go on strike and promised to examine the issue.

“They (auto drivers) have been associated with us for a long time... When I take charge tomorrow, I will hold consultations with them and try to find out a solution. We cannot rule out the possibility of a hike in auto fares in Delhi, if necessary,” Kejriwal told reporters.

He was asked to comment on the unhappiness among the autorickshaw drivers following the CNG rate hike.

IGL increased the price of CNG by Rs 4.50 per kg on Thursday. It was the second price hike of CNG in the last three months.

CNG will now cost Rs 50.10/kg in Delhi and Rs 56.70/kg in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. The increase has already come into effect.

Delhi Government has a five per cent stake in IGL and can at best subsidise the hike but it cannot roll it back on its own.

IGL has said the rate increase was forced by court orders that had led to a cut in allocation of cheaper domestic natural gas.