Following the interim relief granted by the Madras high court on the issue of high-speed diesel at increased prices for Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has approached the state government requesting it to make a similar appeal in the Bombay high court.
The Madras high court ex-parte order restrained oil-marketing companies from charging the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation a higher rate for diesel till April 12.
In a letter to the state urban development department last week, the undertaking requested the government to file a petition in the high court citing the Madras high court order. “This could give big relief to the undertaking, which is estimated to suffer a loss of Rs 90 crore because of the increased price of high-speed diesel for bulk consumers in the current and next fiscal year,” said a BEST official, requesting anonymity.
The relief on diesel price by oil companies will benefit both passengers and power consumers. “Currently, the undertaking is recovering transport wing losses from power consumers. If losses borne on fuel prices are reduced it could benefit both power consumers and bus passengers,” said Sunil Ganacharya, a BEST committee member.
A steep increase in diesel price of Rs13 a litre for bulk consumers since January 18 is expected to cause a loss of Rs90crore in the current and next fiscal years. To reduce these losses, the undertaking has been refilling 575 of its 1,403 buses from the open market where fuel is available at a lower price. Considering 70 litres of average daily consumption on each bus, the undertaking is saving Rs900 a day per bus and more than Rs5lakh on 575 buses.
“The high fuel price only for public transport bodies could affect its operations adversely and thereby its lakhs of daily commuters. It’s high time that the government make the move in public interest,” said Ganacharya.