Agency to enter into tie-ups with oil firms to source diesel from their outlets
Faced with daily loss increasing by an additional ₹85 lakh after it was tagged along with bulk fuel purchasers earlier this month, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is readying to enter into tie-ups with oil firms to source diesel from their outlets.
A considerable number of buses have begun refuelling from the ten Yatra Fuel outlets that the RTC opened in six districts, to tide over the crisis of the agency having to pay ₹27.88 more per litre of diesel than the market price of the fuel. Although only 3,200 of the total number of about 6,000 buses were operating, the agency needed an average of 2.70 lakh litres of diesel every day, said official sources.
However, the agency is not pursuing the initiative to retrofit CNG kits in its buses in a phased manner, to reign in its mounting fuel bills and to lessen pollution. The roll-out of 310 new CNG buses too has been held up, although a kg of CNG is priced less than half the cost of a litre of diesel purchased in bulk.
Sources attributed the delay in trying out CNG and LNG as greener and cost-effective fuels to the stranglehold of votaries of fossil fuel in the RTC and the slack accounting and auditing standards. “There are a whole lot of grey areas and lack of transparency in fuel and other purchases. The agency will reach a point of no-return if the present trend continues. The KSRTC could have saved a few hundred crore rupees during the past couple of years but for the inordinate delay in introducing alternative fuels and their vending stations,” they said.
With the agency citing mounting losses on account of fuel bills as a reason for almost 3,000 of its buses idling, almost all depots have halved the number of services that they operated, affecting lakhs of commuters.