To take benefit of the difference in price of diesel for commercial establishments and for the general public, the cash-strapped Punjab Roadways, which is already suffering a loss of Rs 100 crore, has directed its fleet of 1,500 buses to buy fuel from private petrol stations.
Till recently, there was no difference in prices of diesel supplied by Indian Oil Corporation at private pumps and those set up at commercial establishments. Punjab Roadways and Pepsu buses had also been buying diesel from different petrol stations set up in their depots across the state.
With about 70 per cent of its routes suffering from loss, Punjab Roadways is incurring an annual loss of nearly Rs 100 crore. The recent diesel price hike of Rs 10.50 per litre for commercial establishments would have led to a loss of another Rs 48 crore per year (Rs 4 crore per month). While for a normal consumer, diesel price now stood at Rs 46.56 after the recent 50 paisa hike, for commercial consumers like state transport undertakings, the figure was Rs 56.66 per litre.
“Punjab Roadways was buying 35 lakh litre diesel per month for its fleet at a cost of Rs 15 crore. Now, with increase of Rs 10.50 per litre, it will have to shell out another Rs 3.50 crore per month,” a senior official said.
Thus, the state-owned PSU has devised a fool-proof method to work the modalities. A few private gas stations have been chosen for supplying diesel to the buses. For the last couple of days, inspector rank officials stationed at each of these stations have been issuing requisition slips to these pumps when buses arrive for diesel.
“The Roadways is taking diesel on credit from these pumps. Initially, bus conductors bought diesel on payment from pumps,’’ said an official.
According to sources, general managers at all the 18 depots of Roadways have been directed to get fuel for buses from these private petrol pumps. In recent times, buses were getting diesel from Roadways petrol pumps located at depots. However, these pumps have now dried up as the Roadways has decided not to directly buy diesel from oil companies due to the cost factor.
Sources added that while all Roadways buses going to Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana from Chandigarh are now getting diesel from petrol pumps in Daun near Kharar, buses to Ambala and Delhi get fuel from near the