Special Correspondent

Long queue of three-wheelers at petrol outlets a common sight

Some outlets charging more than the prescribed price

Diesel being sold at three or four outlets only

ONGOLE: As all petroleum companies have imposed undeclared cut in diesel supply, autorickshaws seem to be the worst hit in urban areas. The long queue of auto-rickshaws at the outlets reflects the gloomy situation.

Autorickshaws which play vital role in local transport are facing the worst crisis due to diesel shortage. Though there are 10 outlets in the town, diesel is sold only at three or four outlets at any given time. So autorickshaw drivers have to go from one outlet to the other searching for diesel and spending good amount of their time. They have to wait 20-30 minutes to get a litre of diesel delivered.

No other go

The diesel outlets are exploiting the scarcity to charge Re. 1 to Rs. 2 more than the prescribed price or deliver one or two units less measurement. “As it is a big relief to get the oil, we do not question the boys about short measurement or high price,” says an autorickshaw driver.

Some auto-rickshaw drivers get the vehicles on payment of rent of Rs. 100 per 12 hours. They are finding it difficult to make their both ends meet.

“We lose two to three hours in getting diesel and to that extent our revenue,” says a driver, Nageswara Rao.

When contacted, an outlet owner here says that he needs 55 kilo litres per day to meet his demand. But all that the company is supplying him is only 40 kilo litres per day. So he is forced to impose ration. The outlet used to operate from 6 a.m. to midnight before. But it has changed its timings now -- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Also, it is delivering only one or two litres per auto-rickshaw at a time.

Auto-rickshaws run carrying people from one place to another at flat rate of Rs. 5 per person making them the most convenient transport within the town.

If the steep hike in diesel price affected their profits adversely, the scarcity makes their operations unviable.