Acute diesel shortage cripples KSRTC services

This Karkidakam, board KSRTC's special budget bus services for ‘Nalambala Darshan’
The oil companies had stopped supplying diesel to the KSRTC after the total unpaid oil bill arrears of the Corporation went up to Rs135 crore. File photo/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has cut down 50 per cent of its ordinary bus services due to acute shortage of diesel.

Fifty per cent of the ordinary services at various depots in 10 districts were cancelled for want of diesel on Friday, leaving the travellers in the lurch in many parts of the State.
For instance the services of half of the buses from the KSRTC depot in Kottarakkara were disrupted. Of the 67 buses in the depot, 33 did not operate services.

The chain services from the depot to Kollam, Pathanapuram, Punalur, Adoor, Ayur and Parippally got completely derailed.
The passengers, especially students, had a harrowing time. The passengers later staged a protest inside the Kottarakkara bus stand.
The depot authorities, however, maintained that the services have been cut down owing to the rains and the holiday.

It has been directed to operate ordinary services which generate a revenue of Rs 35 per km only. 

The average daily revenue of KSRTC is Rs 6.5 crore of which diesel expense itself is Rs 3.5 crore.

According to the KSRTC management, only 25 per cent of its services will be operated on Saturday. No services will be operated on Sunday.

The oil companies had stopped supplying diesel to the KSRTC after the total unpaid oil bill arrears of the Corporation went up to Rs 135 crore.
Now, diesel is being procured by making payments every day. The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will not provide diesel without settling the earlier dues of Rs 139 crore, including the pending dues of Rs 123 crore and the interest.

Rs 20 cr aid awaited

Meanwhile, the financial crisis faced by the Corporation  has become even more severe as Rs 20 crore promised by the State Finance Department is yet to be received.
Of the Rs 50 crore given by the Finance department to pay salaries and for bank loan repayments, only Rs 30 crore has been released so far. That was used for loan repayments.

The file seeking the balance of Rs 20 crore has reached the Finance Minister’s office 3 weeks ago; however, the fund has not been released yet.
The Management hopes to resolve the crisis at least by Tuesday.

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