CHENNAI: It is not uncommon for people living near Union territories to go there and fill their vehicles’ petrol or diesel tanks, given that it costs less. Indian Railways has planned to do something similar.
The Railways has identified a set of Railway Consumer Depots (RCDs), where the cost of diesel is lower than the rest, to refuel diesel locomotives.
Zonal railways have been directed to ensure that maximum re-fuelling is done at these depots. This is part of an exercise to optimise their expenditure on fuel, officials said.
The average price paid by IR on diesel is Rs 57.87 per litre. However, the maximum cost of diesel at an RCD is Rs 62.56 and the minimum at another RCD is Rs 49.57, which is a difference of Rs 13. In April 2017, Railways used up 256 million litres of diesel, statistics show.
This essentially means that if Railways prioritises its re-fuelling at RCDs where the diesel cost is less, it can save crores of rupees. “A saving of even Rs 1 per litre can save Rs 294 crore for Indian Railways,” a recent directive sent to zonal railways shows.
For instance, in Southern Railway, the diesel cost at Basin Bridge Junction and Tondiarpet RCD is Rs 57.4 per litre. However, in Dindigul, it is Rs 58.22 and in Villupuram it is Rs 58.42. The price drops to Rs 55.5 and Rs 56.9 in Kannur and Palakkad in Kerala, respectively. Trains starting from Chennai would be re-fuelled at Basin Bridge and Tondiarpet as the fuel cost in Vijayawada RCD is Rs 60.73.
The price variation across states is due to the local taxes, said railway officials. Within states also it would differ due to transportation costs from the distribution point of the oil marketing company (OMC).
Based on these statistics, a four-point charter has been sent to zonal railways, asking them to immediately implement these to cut down on costs.
Zonal railways should ensure that refuelling at cheapest RCDs is maximised and costliest RCDs must be avoided. All the full tank refuelling should be done at RCDs where the diesel price is the lowest. A set of four or five RCDs, which is to be utilised for maximum refuelling should be prepared based on traffic pattern including fuelling when the train is in transit.