The fleet needs 4.3 lakh litres of HSD each day

The hike in the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) by 45 paise per litre by the State-owned oil companies from Friday has driven the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) into more crisis.

As the tax (VAT) rate varied in each State, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL), started levying Rs.1.87 more on a litre of HSD for KSRTC.

The transport corporation started receiving HSD for Rs.62.12 a litre from Saturday compared to the Rs.60.25 it was paying for a litre from January 19.

The State transport undertaking, tagged as a bulk buyer, would need an additional Rs.8 lakh a day for fuel bill, sources told The Hindu.

The corporation needed 4.3 lakh litres of HSD each day for its fleet. The monthly fuel bill of the loss-making corporation would go up to Rs.16.5 crore from Rs.14 crore on account of the new increase.

State-owned fuel retailers had given the impression to KSRTC that it would be spared of the price hike being effected as per price variations in the international market. “This has come as a big setback to the corporation as it cannot do any planning as the fuel bill will continue to fluctuate,” sources said.

The hike, the second one this year, was a big setback as the government had been exploring ways to help KSRTC out of the crisis brought about by the Centre notifying it as a ‘bulk consumer.’

Also, the corporation was yet to get the Rs.14-crore promised by the State government to ‘absorb’ the additional fuel bill. The Cabinet took the decision to provide Rs.14 crore each for two months on January 28.

The KSRTC was finding it difficult to sustain as it did not have money to purchase fuel at Rs.62.12 a litre, a top official said.

From the Rs.4.3 crore daily revenue, the corporation had to provide Rs.2 crore towards the escrow account and pension fund. In addition, a sum of Rs.2.1 crore had to be given daily to IOC and HPCL.

Seeks tax waiver

The KSRTC was seeking Rs.240 crore from the State and a waiver of the 19.8 per cent sales tax levied on HSD to overcome the crisis. Sources said the government was yet to act on the demands. The talks with oil companies had not been successful, he said.