HYDERABAD: One of the largest consumers of diesel in the state, the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) has been feeling the pinch of rising diesel prices, but its officials are reluctant to even acknowledge that rising diesel price, which crossed Rs 97 a litre, has become a burden on the corporation.
The RTC consumes on an average, when its full operations are on, as much as 5.43 lakh litres of high-speed diesel every day with its 10,460 buses covering an average of 5.15 km per litre of fuel.
The RTC which spent Rs 66.60 per litre of diesel in the middle of March 2019, saw only a marginal increase in its fuel bill by the end of 2019 spending Rs 68.13 per litre of the fuel in the middle of December that year. As on Saturday, with diesel price at Rs 97.20 a litre in Hyderabad, the fuel bill burden on the corporation has become quite stark, according to official sources.
When contacted, RTC officials were circumspect in speaking about how the rising diesel prices were hurting the corporation and were reluctant to answer any question. With the rising fuel prices becoming a political hot button, the RTC, according to sources, has no option but to foot the constantly rising fuel bill and keep silent.
It is learnt that any discussion on fuel prices, at least in the public by the RTC, is off the table as the state government too can be accused of not doing anything to bring the prices down by reducing the levies it collects on every litre of diesel sold in the state including a Rs 2 per litre as additional tax on the fuel, apart from the 27 per cent value-added tax per litre of diesel the state government collects. Incidentally, the VAT collected by the state is the second-highest in the country on diesel.
Any talk about rising diesel prices in the state by the RTC could well attract criticism from opposition parties that have already asked the state to reduce taxes on fuel. In fact, when some ministers in the Telangana government spoke recently on the rising fuel prices, as did the opposition Congress, some Central ministers responded saying that if the state was worried about the burden on the people, then it could cut the taxes it levied on fuels sold in Telangana state.
The TSRTC hiked its fares last on December 16, 2019, when the price of a litre diesel was Rs 68.13....