Fuel price hike hits finances of Road Transport Corporations
Road Transport Corporations in the State that are already reeling under huge revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic are facing another financial hurdle — the consistent increase in fuel prices.
Though services have resumed to an extent, the corporations are running at huge losses as their revenues are still way below that of pre-pandemic times. The rising fuel price has only added to their woes.
All the four corporations in the State – KSRTC, BMTC, NWKRTC, and NEKRTC– purchase fuel in bulk. According to officials, in the last 14 days, the price of fuel has increased by ₹4.5 per litre, causing additional burden of ₹70 lakh per day on the corporations. “Our financial burden will increase by another ₹20 crore per month paying for fuel,” said an official.
BMTC Managing Director C. Shikha told The Hindu that the BMTC alone needs additional ₹4.36 crore per month for fuel. An official of the BMTC said: “Though the number of services have gradually increased, ridership remains low at around 25% , which has impacted fare revenue collection. Now, operational cost has also increased.”
Together the corporations consume an average of 1,544 kl of fuel per day. “Governments are unlikely to reduce fuel prices at this stage as they are also facing problems in generating revenue in this difficult time. On June 1, KSRTC was paying ₹63.56 per litre; now it has gone up to ₹68.05 per litre,” said a KSRTC official.
BMTC and the other transport corporations are not in a position to operate the entire fleet of buses due to poor demand and other restrictions. The corporations could not pay their employees on time in April and May. It was only after the State government released funds that over 1.25 lakh employees received their salaries. They have already approached the State for help to pay salaries for next month as well.