State government’s decision to move court brings relief, says official

The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses have stopped filling diesel in private fuel pumps, a senior TNSTC official said in Madurai on Wednesday.

The move follows the Madras High Court recently granting an interim injunction against oil marketing companies charging the increased bulk diesel price, which was announced on January 17, from the State Transport Corporation. The injunction, effective till April 12, was granted on a petition filed by the TNSTC against dual pricing for bulk and retail diesel

The dual pricing forced the cash-strapped TNSTC to fill diesel in private pumps. Across the State, TNSTC buses filled diesel from private pumps and the payments were made through the respective divisions.

A senior official said that in Madurai division, the Corporation had been operating 2,520 buses every day in Madurai, Dindigul (which includes Theni district) and Virudhunagar regions. The average diesel consumption worked out to 62 lakh litres a month. In Tirunelveli region, 1,997 buses consumed 48 lakh litres.

Welcoming the move of the State government, TNSTC Staff Federation joint secretary S. Sampath said that dual pricing was against the Constitution. At a time when the Corporation was facing a cash crunch, charging higher price for bulk consumers was condemnable, he said.

Filling diesel at private pumps was cumbersome as TNSTC staff had to deployed at the pumps to oversee the exercise. The government’s decision to approach the court had brought relief, he said.

Other divisions

A TNSTC official in Chennai said that the Metropolitan Transport Corporation-Chennai had been operating 3,367 buses which consumed around 70 lakh litres of diesel a month. The SETC (State Express Transport Corporation), with a fleet of 1,080 buses, consumed 35 lakh litres. The TNSTC- Villupuram division, with 3,586 buses, consumed 92 lakh litres, Salem division (2,288 buses) consumed 58 lakh litres, Coimbatore (3,300) buses consumed 76 lakh litres and Kumbakonam division (3,785) buses consumed 95 lakh litres.