Seeking to save Kerala State Road Transport Corporation hit by a Supreme Court ruling against providing susbsidised diesel to “bulk consumers”, the State government on Friday decided to hand over diesel pumps under the Corporation to State Civil Supplies Corporation.
The Cabinet also sanctioned Rs. 10 crore as an emergency relief to maintain its services.
The decision to lease 67 diesel filling units of KSRTC to the Supplyco is based on the advice that the latter will be able to provide fuel to KSRTC at the subsidised rates without being hindered by the apex court order.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Transport Minister Aryadan Muhammad had a round of discussions with officials of oil companies, who also endorsed this as an option to bail out KSRTC and offered their cooperation to the government measures.
Briefing reporters, Mr. Chandy said the government would have to go through some legal procedures and obtain certain clearances to carry out the proposal.
In the interlude, KSRTC buses would be allowed to fill fuel from retail outlets, including those of the Supplyco. As a temporary relief, the corporation had been sanctioned Rs. 10 crore.
The apex court’s decision has forced KSRTC to pay Rs. 71.25 for a litre of diesel in place of Rs. 53.85 it had been paying earlier as subsidised rate.
This has cast an additional burden of Rs. 266.74 crore per year on KSRTC, which has already been struggling to honour its salary and pension commitments.