TNSTC buses queue up at private petrol pumps in the city

Ever since TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation) buses started filling diesel from private outlets, following consent given by the State government, some of the petrol pumps in the city have become crowded, inconveniencing the general public.

But the bus crew have a different tale: A TNSTC driver, who was waiting to fill fuel at a petrol pump in Tallakulam, said here on Tuesday, “ Filling diesel outsie the TNSTC depots has affected the number of scheduled trips in a day. Trip cuts are going to become unavoidable. There is more delay due to change of bus crew owing to this new arrangement. Further, the idling of buses at the petrol pumps is bound to reflect on the kilometre efficiency of each vehicle,” he said.

A TNSTC official said that two to three staff from the technical wing had been posted in each petrol pump to check the filling process, record the opening and closing meter reading (before and after filling fuel), and to regulate the buses in the crowded pumps. “We have identified a maximum of 20 pumps near the 14 TNSTC depots for filling fuel in the morning, afternoon and evening,” he noted.

A petrol pump dealer in the city told The Hindu that they have agreed to fill diesel in the TNSTC buses after the depot managers approached them. As for the payment terms, the TNSTC sought one-day credit facility. “This is a new experience for us. The sales turnover is bound to increase since the daily bill for the Corporation will be in the range of Rs. 3 lakh,” he said.

A TNSTC official from Chennai who spoke over telephone said that Managing Directors of all the transport corporation divisions attended a meeting on Monday. It was agreed to fill diesel from private pumps as it worked out cheaper for the cash-starved corporation. The MDs had been instructed to release payments to the petrol pump dealers directly. Credit terms would be fixed with each pump individually by the respective MDs, he said.

The recent dual pricing policy by the oil companies had forced the State transport undertakings to fill fuel at private outlets as the Centre has lifted the subsidy cover to bulk consumers which has resulted in higher cost of diesel. It is Rs. 50.35 a litre for the general public while it is Rs 61.67 for bulk consumers.

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