India may shut petrol pumps at night to save rupee

NEW DELHI, September 2, 2013 (AFP) – India is considering closing fuel pumps at night as one of a number of “austerity measures” aimed at cutting its ballooning oil import bills, the oil minister said. The government has partially deregulated petrol and hiked diesel prices in an effort to contain the ballooning debt caused in part by fuel subsidies.

India is scheduled to go to the polls by May next year with stubbornly-high inflation one of the main issues troubling voters.

New Delhi signed an agreement last month that would increase Iraqi sales of crude oil to India. Iraq has eclipsed sanctions-hit Iran as India’s second-biggest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. Oil Minister Veerappa Moily said on Monday that details have not yet been finalised on the new measures expected to be introduced later this month.

“We have not worked out the details, how the austerity measures or the conservation mission will have to be launched,” Moily told NDTV news channel.

But the minister said late Sunday that “shutting petrol pumps during (the) night is one of” the measures under discussion, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

“We have not decided. It is just a propos