The rising fuel prices have hit the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport hard. With the body incurring huge losses, authorities at BEST are doing whatever they can to plug their leaking coffers. For instance, they have started refuelling their buses at privately owned petrol pumps.
Every BEST depot has been provided with filling pumps, but as a bulk buyer, the undertaking has to pay more for diesel. On an average, BEST has to pay at least an additional Rs 10 per litre at its depot, as compared to that at petrol pumps outside.
In the last 11 months, the BEST, on an average, has been refuelling nearly 600 of its diesel buses every day at regular petrol pumps. The practice, which was started in March this year, has led to the purchase of about 40,000 litres per day at private petrol pumps by the BEST for its 600-odd vehicles. BEST has 1,354 buses that run on diesel of the total 4,000-odd buses.
The move has led to huge savings. The undertaking has spent over Rs 83.67 crore, from March to October, by filling up at their own depots, while they have shelled out Rs 40.58 crore during the same period at private pumps. While officials agree that this has reduced losses by a significant amount, it also leads to jams outside petrol pumps. Authorities have called out to the government to step in and do something about the issue.
“As the rate of bulk diesel increases, we will be forced to send more buses to pumps outside. We have asked for a meeting with the Chief Minister’s office and have also sent several letters asking that the issue be discussed. We haven’t heard from them yet,” said Sanjay Ambole, chairman of BEST committee.
Initially in March, the BEST started the process of buying diesel outside their depots at Colaba, Worli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Shivaji Nagar, Majas, Malwani and Gorai depots. The practice was stopped in a couple of months when the difference between the rates of bulk diesel and diesel sold at private pumps became nominal - about Rs 2 - 3 per litre. However from July, the difference in rates went up by Rs 9 – 10 per litre, which forced them to venture out for fuel again.
Rs 83.67 cr
Amount spent by BEST on refuelling at depot petrol pumps from March to October
Rs 40.58 cr
Amount spent by BEST on refuelling at private petrol pumps from March to October
Volume of diesel (in litres) filled outside its own depots by BEST every day
Total no of BEST buses that run on diesel