Special Correspondent

Hike in diesel price means additional burden of Rs. 46 crore for the corporation

Marginal increase to offset the burden on account of hike in diesel prices

It’s up to the RTC management to take a decision, says Chief Minister

HYDERABAD: Having turned the corner and earned a profit of Rs. 135 crore in the fiscal 2007-08, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is likely to increase the bus fares marginally to offset the burden on account of the recent hike in diesel prices.

An indication to this effect was given by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy at Guntur on Friday afternoon. He did not quantify the likely hike, but said it was up to the RTC management to take a decision.

Additional burden

However, he said that the government would intervene to see that the increase was not very high.

Estimates show that a hike in diesel price of Re. 1 means an additional burden of Rs. 46 crore an year for the corporation.

At this rate, the latest hike of Rs. 3.67 per litre would amount to about Rs. 150 crore.

Eighth hike

The eighth hike in the four years since the UPA government came to power, has effectively wiped out the last fiscal’s profits that were the first in the past decade.

In 2007-08, the corporation recorded revenues of Rs. 3,600 crore and an estimated expenditure of Rs. 3,450 crore.

B. Rama Rao, President of the National Federation of Indian Road Transport Workers said the accumulated loss of Rs. 1,400 crore would not reduce on account of the hike in diesel price, notwithstanding the profits made in 2007-08.

The losses are attributed to non-reimbursement by government of the concessions that the corporation extended to different sections of society, since 1998 onwards and the periodic tax burdens.

A reasonable increase in fares across the Volvo, Hi-Tech and other semi-luxury segments, primarily used by urbanites, would serve to neutralise the burden imposed by the petrol hike, he said.

This way, the poorer, rural sections of people who used the green buses and the express services would be spared, Mr. Rao said.

Till late on Friday evening, senior officials of the corporation including Managing Director V. Dinesh Reddy and Executive Director-Operations Damodar Das were unavailable for comment.