TAMIL NADU

Transport corporations renew pact with Reliance

S. Vijay Kumar

MADURAI: Reliance Petro Marketing Private Limited will continue to supply hi-speed diesel to State Transport Undertakings for another six months with effect from October 1. The Managing Directors of seven transport corporations had entered into a memorandum of understanding with RPML for supply of 1.14 lakh litres of hi-speed diesel a day to 20 depots across the State. It was on a trial basis for six months with effect from April 1, 2005.

While trade unions opposed the move and urged the Government not to break a three-decade-old policy of purchasing fuel from national oil companies, the Transport department justified the procurement saying that RPML had offered a discount of Rs. 1,321.27 per KL.

Subsequently, the national oil companies also offered the same discount.

Though the trade unions claimed that the RPML diesel was inferior in quality and mounted pressure on the Transport department to patronise national oil companies, the management renewed the contract due for expiry on September 30.

"The Government directed the renewal of the contract with RPML for six more months which was ratified by the Board of Directors," a senior TNSTC official here told The Hindu on Monday.

According to him, buses running on Reliance fuel had recorded an increase in mileage of 0.15 km (per litre) than others. "... The management is fully satisfied with the quality of hi-speed diesel supplied by Reliance."

Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) State general secretary A. Soundararajan termed the renewal of contract "unfair." Since the national oil companies had also offered the same discount, the contract should have been terminated.

"We have received several complaints of deficit in the quantity of diesel loads supplied by RPML. The CITU suspects an ulterior motive behind the renewal of contract."

The Tamil Nadu Transport Staff Federation has urged the management to sever the contract.

In a memorandum to all MDs, its State general secretary T. Tirumalaisamy said buses using Reliance diesel in Erode had reported major engine faults.

Credit facility

The national oil companies provided credit facility to STUs and priority of supply in the event of dearth of oil during emergencies in the world market, he said.

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