Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fuel price reduction: No cheers for taxis, autos

Fuel price reduction: No cheers for taxis, autos
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The latest cut in petrol and diesel prices may have helped two-wheeler and four-wheeler users. But, autorickshaw and taxis have not benefited because they are already on LPG kits. However, they now have other complaints.

There are only 24 autorised LPG bunks to cater to 80,000 LPG-borne autorikshaws. Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union President Manjunatha explained that the number of LPG bunks are grossly insuffient.

“We need at the least 40 bunks,” he told this paper. Moreover, most of the bunks are equipped with just one tank. “We have to stand in a queue, untill the tank is refilled. Bunks should have two tanks,” he said.

Ashok, an office-bearer of Bangalore Airport Taxi Drivers’ Union,said that an overwhelming majority of the taxis used LPG. A slash in petrol price will make no difference to taxi operators. However, he said petrol-driver would not get much benefits either.

“One litre petrol at Rs.50 can fuel a standard taxi 16 kilometers. We run 10 kilometers with one litre of LPG that cost Rs 27. In Delhi, vehicles are CNG-fueled. CNG vehicles can be operated for 18 to 20 kilometers for the same price as LPG. It is better to have CNG than LPG and Petrol,” he says.

However, trucks and lorries have different opinion. G R Shanmugappa, President, Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and agents association is not pleased with the cut in diesel price. He says in many states including Delhi and Tamilnadu, the governments had simultaneouslyl reduced the state tax on fuel to make the cut in oil price real. Karnataka has not done so.

“We are paying Rs 5 more for diesel than Delhi and other states. The trucks from other states will fill their tank from such states and save the benefits. It is only Karnataka truck and lorry owners who suffer,” he said. The Federation would soon appeal to the government to reduce the state tax, he added.


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