Sourcing of diesel from Supplyco suggested

The State Government has asked its public transport undertaking to desist from taking ‘unpopular’ measures to tide over diesel crisis.

It also advised Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to consider sourcing diesel supplies from State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) outlets.

LEGAL ISSUES

KSRTC is of the view that although sourcing diesel in this manner may save over Rs 10 per litre, this option is now without its own share of legal and technical issues.

It had earlier sought the Government’s nod to operate only profitable bus routes in order to tide over the crisis created by the deregulation of diesel process.

But officials were told not to wind up uneconomical schedules to remote areas and hilly and tribal areas where only KSRTC operated.

Rationalisation of service, if at all, had to be taken up route-wise and scientifically without putting the commuters into hardship.

CRACK DOWN

This was also the consensus opinion that prevailed during the meeting of the Cabinet held here on Wednesday.

Officials were instead told to crack down on loss-making services and to prioritise the rest since 1,650 schedules of the 5,300 operated daily had been identified as ‘uneconomical’.

KSRTC’s offtake from the outlets of the public sector oil marketing companies has come down by 20 per cent.

On an average, it needs 4.3 lakh litres of diesel to run daily operations and spends Rs 2.1 crore under the fuel bill.

TAX WAIVER

The transport utility is also pushing for a Rs 200-crore assistance from the Government and waiver of 19.8 per cent sales tax on a litre of diesel.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has also decided to wait out for ‘favourable vibes’ from the Centre before proceeding further in the matter of public transport services.

This came about after the chief secretary reportedly briefed it about the possibility of ‘some form of relief’ being announced soon.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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