Operation of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses to various destinations from here was badly affected till Tuesday afternoon as eight private fuel stations here refused to supply diesel to the buses citing huge volume of dues to be settled by the TNSTC administration here.
After the double pricing system for diesel was introduced, the TNSTC administration had made arrangements for getting diesel for its buses from eight fuel stations in the city and the bill was settled once in two days.
When this 48-hour ‘grace period’ became a week, the fuel stations decided to sell diesel to the TNSTC buses only after outstanding dues were cleared and the payment was made immediately after every sale.
As the decision came into force on Tuesday morning, the buses lined up in front of these fuel stations had to return to the depot without filling diesel after the drivers were informed to settle the outstanding dues first. Subsequently, 25 buses being operated to Tenkasi, Alangulam, Kadayam and other distant areas were parked inside the Vannarpet depot.
Secretary of DMK-affiliated ‘Thozhilaalar Munnetra Sangam’ A. Dharman said the TNSTC’s Tirunelveli division had to spend Rs.45.50 lakh everyday for buying 91,000 litres of diesel to operate 982 services in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts.
No monthly grant
“As the State Government does not give the monthly grant of Rs.8 crore, as being given by the previous DMK government citing the recent hike in fare, the TNSTC has started feeling the heat. This division has to settle outstanding dues to the tune of Rs.5 crore to eight fuel stations,” he said.
After the buses started returning to the depot from the fuel stations and the services were suspended, emergency measures were taken by the TNSTC administration here to pacify the fuel station dealers. Subsequently, the buses started getting diesel from the fuel stations around 2 p.m. and leaving for their destinations only around 3 p.m.
Though the TNSTC officials here denied that no service was stopped due to non-availability of diesel, none of them was prepared to say as to why the buses had returned to the depot from the fuel stations without filling the fuel.
“This is only a temporary phenomenon and we’ve solved the crisis,” a senior official, who did not want to be named, said.