This will burden the already sick corporation, say trade unions
With the diesel price having gone up, the financially-sick Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) will from now onwards have to cough up an additional Rs. 3.50 crore every month for purchase of 6,300 kilo litres of diesel at a price of Rs. 49.79 per litre, a rise of Rs. 6.10, inclusive of taxes.
According to a senior official, the monthly bill towards diesel alone stands at Rs. 31.75 crore for operating 2,556 buses in Madurai (1163), Dindigul (914) and Virudhunagar (479) respectively. On an average, the Corporation covers 10.45 lakh kilometres per day taking the monthly total to a whopping 3.26 crore kilometres.
Already, the Corporation is burdened with its long pending financial commitments such as pension – Rs. 15.21 crore since July 2011, gratuity Rs. 34.93 crore since April 2011 and leave salary for retired staffs Rs. 10.94 crore and for those in service was at Rs. 12 crore (pending for the last four years).
After fare revision in an earlier occasion, the subsidy passed on to the students in issuance of bus passes was yet to be reimbursed to the Corporation.
Last year alone, 1.60 lakh students were benefitted in the division, he said and added that the income from passenger earnings per month was Rs. 72 crore, while salaries accounted for Rs. 28 crore and pension Rs. 4 crore. The interest and accumulated debts was a different story.
The trade unions have, as expected, appealed to the government to either withdraw the sales tax imposed on diesel to the Transport Corporations to the tune of 21 per cent or reimburse the same.
“Not a single litre of diesel procured by the TNSTC was used for commercial purpose and it was totally consumed for commuting several thousands of people from one destination to another at an affordable fare,” said Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation state joint general secretary S. Sampath.
At a time, when Railways collected lesser fare, a large population preferred train travel than buses, said Pitchai, a Communist trade union leader.
The impounding of at least 80 to 100 buses on court directives for non-settlement of compensation to accident victims was resulting in additional loss to the Corporation, he noted.
Moreover, the oil companies, which reported profits in their annual reports, claimed to have suffered huge losses.
This was misleading and had to be clarified. The gap between revenue earned and accumulated loss is widening.
Steps should be taken to narrow it down, they voiced.