South Asia

Published: Friday 15 February 2008

Sri Lanka raises fuel prices: After doling out huge fuel subsidies for five months, the Sri Lankan government finally increased fuel prices on January 13. The price of petrol has increased by LKR 10 (US $10 cents) a litre to LKR 127 (US $1.2), while the new prices for diesel and kerosene have gone up by LKR 5 (US 5 cents) and LKR 2 (US 2 cents), said the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The country last raised the fuel prices in July 2007. However, due to a political decision, it freezed the prices until the end of the year. The corporation says it has now increased the fuel prices to face the price hike in the world market. A rapid increase of fuel prices cannot be tolerated to a non-fuel producing country like Sri Lanka, it said in a statement.

Pakistan deploys troops to check flour smuggling: In view of acute flour shortage and a big increase in its prices, the government of Pakistan has deployed paramilitary troops at flour mills to check smuggling. A 20-kg flour bag, which used to cost PKR 260 (US $ 4) now costs PKR 400 (US $6.4) or more in some areas. The government says it has already imported 213,000 tonnes of wheat to contain the crisis. The food ministry says it has doubled wheat supply to flour mills. People, however, complain they are not finding flour even at government stores.

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