HRTC hopes to bring down loss by buying fuel in retail
Running in loss of Rs 653 crore, HRTC facing problems in paying salaries of the employees, now will purchase fuel in retail, focus on improving fuel efficiency and checking pilferage of revenue to bring down the loss
Shimla- A steep hike in the rates of diesel for bulk supply has forced the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) to purchase fuel in retail to curtail its increasing cost of operations.
After the latest increase in the rates, the difference in the prices of bulk and retail supply of diesel has increased to Rs 12.71 per litre. Further, retailers were on an average supplying diesel to the corporation at 40-50 paise per litre less than the market rates. Thus, purchasing fuel through retail outlets across the state and even outside instead of bulk procurement was costing about Rs 13 per litre less. With an average daily consumption of 1.65 lakh litre, the corporation was saving about Rs 21 lakh daily on this account. Diesel is now being purchased at the depot level and the units located in the border areas or outside the state are procuring their requirement from states where it is the cheapest due to low taxes.
It is a huge amount for the corporation, which has accumulated losses to the tune of Rs 653 crore, including Rs 80 crore in the last fiscal, and facing problems in paying salaries of the employees. Further, the corporation had to pay in advance for the procurement of fuel from the Indian Oil Corporation.
Sources said an amount of Rs 60 lakh paid by it to the central public undertaking was yet to be adjusted.
With bus fare for the hill areas already the highest in the country at Rs 1.11 per km, there is no further scope for an immediate revision to offset the additional burden on account of increasing fuel prices. The corporation is trying to cut down the expenditure to bring down the loss.
Managing Director of the corporation Onkar Sharma said the stress was on improving fuel efficiency and checking pilferage of revenue for which he had evolved a system for monitoring the performance of drivers and conductors.
The fuel average and revenue per km of buses plying on similar routes were being compared and discussed during meetings for monitoring the performance, he added.
He said he was chairing the monthly meetings, while the divisional mangers were carrying out the exercise fortnightly and regional managers every week. The results had been encouraging and there is already some increase in mileage. The average revenue per km per bus had also gone up from Rs 24 to Rs 25.50, which is an encouraging sign.
However, a major turnaround would be possible only after the implementation of the wet lease scheme for outsourcing operations for which the tendering process was under way.TNS