Bulk diesel price hike forces RTCs to reform
Tamil Nadu, which has eight state transport corporations operating 21,207 buses, has been more vocal in decrying the Centre’s policy and has now threatened to challenge it in court. In his customary address in Tamil Nadu assembly on Friday, governor K Rosaiah said: “The Centre’s diesel policy has resulted in a sharp 23.75% increase in the fuel costs again, of Rs.744 crore per annum, adding up to a total annual increase of Rs 1,127 crore within four months, forcing the STUs (state transport undertakings) to the precipice of financial disaster. This government has decided to challenge this dual pricing policy of the central government in the appropriate court as it is against public interest and discriminates against STUs and benefits private operators who continue to enjoy subsidised fuel.”
Legal experts say nothing prevents the states from allowing RTCs to buy diesel from retail outlets. “There is no illegality in it unless the central government clarifies that bulk consumers can’t buy from retail,” said senior Supreme Court lawyer CA Sundaram.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), which has a fleet of nearly 23,000 buses, is facing an additional annual burden of Rs 720 crore in its fuel expenses following the steep hike in diesel
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