The disparity in diesel prices for retail customers and for bulk buyers could soon result in thousands of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses queueing up outside private fuel stations across the city.
While diesel is available at Rs 88 per litre at retail outlets, its bulk purchase rate is at Rs 119 per litre. “At present, there is a difference of Rs 30 per litre on diesel supplied to retail outlets and bulk consumers. We have brought this issue to the notice of the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas and the state government. Meanwhile, steps are being taken to ensure top-up of diesel at the nearest available fuel petrol bunks without causing any traffic hindrance,” BMTC Managing Director G Sathyavathi said.
Until recently, BMTC had tied up with private retail outlets who would supply diesel to the depots. However, with oil marketing companies reportedly objecting to this arrangement, it has been stopped.
With the BMTC operating 6,803 buses in Bengaluru, there is concern that if all the buses start fuelling up at retail fuel stations, it could lead to massive traffic jams in the city. For now, BMTC MD Sathyavathi said, they have stocks to last at least four days. “There has been no disruption in services till now and further smooth flow will be ensured,” she added.
According to BMTC sources, the reason for the increase in fuel prices for bulk consumers is the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market. “The oil companies have been revising fuel prices and have also hiked the price for bulk users. But the fuel price at the retail outlets is less since it may impact inflation hence we are buying fuel at retail bunks,” an official said.
Meanwhile, the city traffic police have been alerted about the issue and officials said measures will be taken to avoid traffic snarls.