Latest hike in diesel price

The crisis in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has deepened with another hike in the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs.1.20 a litre by State-owned oil companies.

The hike, the second in 12 days, has plunged the loss-making State transport undertaking into a deeper financial crisis. The corporation now has to pay Rs.63.32 for a litre of HSD as it has been tagged as a bulk consumer.

The KSRTC has been purchasing HSD for Rs.62.12 a litre from IOC and HPCL for the last 11 days after the oil majors hiked the price by 45 paise.

The corporation needs 4.3 lakh litres of HSD every day for its fleet. It now has to find another Rs.5 lakh a day on account of the Rs.1.20 increase in the price of HSD. The monthly fuel bill of the loss-making corporation is expected to go up from Rs.16.5 crore to Rs.18 crore on account of the new increase.

A top transport official says the KSRTC, in neck-deep crisis, will find it difficult to sustain its services as it does not have the money to purchase fuel at Rs.63.32 a litre.

The latest hike has come at a time when the corporation finds it difficult to pay the pension of its 37,000-odd retired staff due on February 5, as it cannot mobilise Rs.35 crore needed for the same.

The only solace is the Rs.28 crore sanctioned for ‘absorbing’ the price hike and the Rs.25 crore announced as a special assistance by the government last week.

The revenue-expenditure gap that was Rs.90 crore will now mount to Rs.91.5 crore, sources said.