Says many private bunk operators were forced to pay certain percentage as commission and calls for a probe

The members of the CITU have pasted posters across the city alleging malpractice in purchase of diesel for the state-run buses by some senior Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) officials in Madurai division.

Sparking off a controversy, the members claimed that many private bunk operators were forced to pay certain percentage as commission on purchases and demanded the government to order a probe immediately.

The Madurai division of the TNSTC consumes about 60 lakh litres of diesel per month, by covering 350 lakh kilometres with over 1,000 buses, according to TNSTC officials.

The decision to purchase diesel from private bunks was taken by the State Government in January 2013 following the Centre’s dual pricing policy.

According to the policy, the oil companies had fixed the price of diesel per litre for private bunks (retail) at Rs.51.37 (as on January 18, 2013), while it was Rs. 61.46 per litre for (wholesale consumers) like the State Transport Undertakings (STU). Condemning the Centre, the Jayalalithaa government directed all the Corporations to purchase diesel from private bunk operators.

Between January and August, the Centre had increased the diesel price nine times. Many trade unions, while welcoming the State Government’s move to purchase diesel from retail suppliers then, charged the Centre of indulging in anti-people measure.

“When the TNSTC was operating its buses purely as a service to its commuters, the dual policy had only led to accumulated loss,” TNSTC CITU president G.Rajendran said, and urged the State to discreetly probe into the malpractice.

Some of the private diesel bunk operators said close to Rs.1 crore might be outstanding from the Corporation. In fact, the agreement was to settle bills once in three days, but the officials cited various reasons for the delay. Though the bunk operators did not deny the charge of demanding commission payments levelled by the trade unions, they preferred to remain silent on it.

When contacted, TNSTC General Manager (Madurai Division) Chandrasekar denied the trade union’s allegation as baseless. He said the Corporation had been purchasing diesel from some big private operators, and everything was transparent. The purchases were being made as per the government norms, and the payments released from the collections periodically. There might be some delay in settlement of a few bills, but they were only temporary, he asserted.

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