THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As a temporary measure to tide over the economic crisis caused by the lifting of subsidy of diesel consumed by KSRTC, the state cabinet has asked the corporation to fill fuel from retail pumps.

The decision will be implemented in a day or two as the corporation is in no position to suffer any further loss in this regard.

“With the lifting of subsidy, the additional burden for KSRTC per year will become Rs 266.74 crore. The government is going ahead with the proposal mooted at the meeting held on Wednesday with oil company representatives. They offered all help to our decisions. The plan to lease 67 pumps owned by KSRTC to Supplyco is being finalised. But several licences and permissions need to be obtained before implementing it,” said chief minister Oommen Chandy after the cabinet meeting.

As this proposal would take several weeks to materialize, the government gave its signal for retail purchase of diesel as an interim measure. A sum of Rs 10 crore will be sanctioned as a special allowance to meet the immediate expenses in this regard.

“As much as possible the KSRTC would fill fuel from retail pumps. But there are certain difficulties like complaints of traffic jam that might occur if KSRTC buses queue up before pumps. Also, safety norms prevent drivers from filling fuel with passengers on board,” said Chandy.

Though the cabinet gave its nod for retail filling of diesel before noon, KSRTC didn’t initiate steps to do the same till evening. Sources said it would take a couple of days to switch to the new system and the priority will be for pumps run by the Supplyco.

The cabinet also considered a detailed proposal prepared by the transport department to tide over the crisis. “We have referred the proposal to the finance department. The next cabinet meeting will consider it with suggestions from finance department,” said Chandy.

Chandy said it was impossible for the government to take over the pension liabilities of KSRTC as the government itself was burdened with the pension expenditure of its employees.

“In KSRTC there are 4,000 more pensioners than existing employees. It is a burden which the corporation can’t do away with. In fact, it was the KSRTC experience that prompted the government to go for contributory pension scheme,” said the CM.

Source: Times of India