Panel draws up three-pronged strategy

A high-level panel headed by Chief Secretary Jose Cyriac has worked out a three-pronged strategy to help the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) overcome the financial difficulties caused by its newfound status as a bulk consumer of diesel.

As a bulk consumer of diesel, the KSRTC is paying a higher rate than the pump price. The strategy drawn up by the panel includes sourcing the diesel at subsidised rates from retail outlets of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco). Another option worked out by the panel, set up by the Cabinet, is to depend on retail outlets that are operated or owned by oil companies to source the diesel. The third option is to depend on retail outlets run by private parties across the State. The Civil Supplies Corporation has just 17 retail outlets in the State, while the Indian Oil Corporation has 28 retail outlets, either operated or owned by it.

The sources said the Supplyco outlets would not suffice to fuel the KSRTC’s fleet and the transport corporation would have to depend on private retail outlets too. Officials are mulling over the selection of the retail outlets, how to fill the diesel, timings, and other issues.

As the retail outlets in the city are small, many cannot accommodate the buses. Moreover, only six to seven buses can be filled in an hour, causing traffic blocks. Filling the diesel in the buses at night and after the schedules are wound up will require additional manpower.

As a bulk consumer, the KSRTC is purchasing a litre of diesel for Rs.63.32. It will have to pay only Rs.50.84 for a litre if the diesel is sourced from the retail outlets. Besides the Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary, Transport; Principal Secretary, Finance; Chairman and Managing Director, KSRTC; and Secretary, Civil Supplies, are the members of the panel.

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