Large petrol pumps are in a position to supply the requisite quantity

To get around the problem posed by higher diesel price for bulk consumers, the State government has advised its transport corporations to tank up at retail pumps where diesel is still sold at subsidised price.

“We are getting many enquiries from bulk consumers, including State transport corporations. While most of the large petrol pumps could supply the requisite quantity, our only demand is that such sale should be on a cash and carry basis,” says M. Kannan, former national vice-president of Federation of All India Petroleum Traders.

Given the substantial increase likely in sales volume and the incremental commission they stand to make, dealers are not complaining. Oil companies left it to dealers on whether they want to extend credit. On their part, the companies facilitated such sales by deciding at an internal meeting recently to treat STC buses on a par with other vehicles coming to the petrol pumps. “We knew this was coming,” say officials of oil marketing companies, about the development that comes within a week of the Centre introducing dual pricing for diesel. Under the new system, bulk consumers such as STC and railways would be supplied diesel only at market determined prices, which is over Rs.10 more per litre compared to prices at the pump. This meant that subsidised diesel would be available only to customers of petrol pumps.

In Chennai, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) from Friday started purchasing diesel from retail outlets near its depots. The fleet, comprising over 3,600 buses and running for over nine lakh kilometres per day, consumes over two lakh litres of diesel a day. “As subsidised diesel is only available at retail outlets, we have been orally instructed to fill fuel at petrol pumps near our depots,” said an official.