The petrol pump at Peruru village in Anantapur district is located very close to the Karnataka border, and has lost its business.
The reason being that people are preferring to cross the border for petrol or diesel as they cost less by at least ₹8 and ₹10 per liter respectively in the neighbouring State due to a difference in Sales Tax.
Owner of the HP petrol pump Thippaiah is not the lone dealer suffering due to the difference in the rate of tax. He is one among the 25 to 30 such owners who have either meagre business, or have closed shop.
Mr. Thippaiah had invested in a dealership that was actually allocated to some other person.
He has to pay ₹9,80,000 for a 10 KL tank of fuel. But as the sales have plummeted, Mr. Thippaiah has been buying 200 litres to 300 litres in small drums and selling the fuel in small bottles to make ends meet.
While a few of his ilk have shifted to other businesses, a few others are patiently waiting for a parity in the fuel price to earn at least ₹2.15 per liter of diesel offered as a commission by the refining companies.
Most of the bulk consumers in Anantapur and Kurnool districts find it cheaper to buy fuel from Karnataka. Even small vehicle owners often get it from the pumps across the border.
Some dealers allege that five lorry loads of diesel enter Anantapur district from Karnataka, which a few local dealers sell at a hefty profit.
Though the Sales Tax / GST officials have been stopping such vehicles and imposing hefty penalties, it seems to have little impact on the illegal activity.
The APSRTC too (since February) buys diesel from the local dealers as it turns out to be cheaper than buying the fuel in bulk from the companies.
APSRTC Anantapur Regional Manager Sumanth R. Adoni says a committee at the depot level invites bids, and fuel is bought for the two pumps that each RTC depot has for either filling or topping up their own and hired vehicles.
The RTC is not allowed to buy fuel from other States as it will lead to the government losing Sales Tax revenue.