With oil market companies deciding to sell diesel at market price to bulk consumers, state-run transport corporations across the country will be under pressure. They will either have to increase passenger fares or bear the additional burden, if state governments do not bail them out with a subsidy.
Private service providers on inter-state as well as inter-city routes are already planning to revise fares. The Karnataka government is planning to effect a rise in bus fares as early as Monday and the calculations are under way, said officials privy to the information. Karnataka may well become the first state to react to the development. Following the increase in diesel price, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation would incur an additional monthly expenditure of about Rs 20 crore and Rs 15 crore, respectively. The loss-making Kerala Road Transport Corporation, too, will have to take an additional burden of Rs 10-12 crore a month for diesel.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), which runs about 22,000 buses, is “observing” the impact, while also focusing on reducing costs through better maintenance and utilisation of its assets. Over the past nine years, APSRTC has recorded accumulated losses to the tune of Rs 2,800 crore. Last year, it had raised fares by 12 per cent.
|ON THE RUN
* The state transport undertakings (STUs) in the country consume 2.1 million tonnes of diesel annually
* The price deregulation to cost these Rs 2,462 crore more an annum
* Many STUs have already revised fares in the light of Rs 5/litre hike in September 2012
* STUs left with either bearing burden or revising fares again
“In the current scenario, the state government has been providing an annual subsidy of Rs 600 crore to the five state-run transport corporations. This will make the situation worse,” he said. Orissa Road Transport Corporation, reeling under an accumulated loss of Rs 250 crore, is expected to take a hit of more than Rs 1 crore a year. As the government had allowed nine to 10 per cent hike in bus fares in October last year, it would be difficult for it to increase the fares again.
High inflation and slower growth continues to worry Indian consumers
In its report it said that low oil prices will be an important driver for the scale of improvement in next year's deficit