PUNE: More than 1,200 gas-powered public transport buses could go off the roads soon, if the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) fails to clear pending dues.
Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL), which supplies CNG to the transport utility, is owed Rs48.92 crore. The move stands to affect lakhs who travel daily on the 1,235 CNG-powered buses.
In a meeting attended by PMPML chief Nayana Gunde on Wednesday, the gas utility threatened to cut off supply. “Gunde sought two or three days to speak seek funds from the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioners. If the dues are not cleared in this interval, we will discontinue the supply,” an MNGL official said. MNGL said the dues had been mounting for the last year-and-a-half, as the transport utility has only been making part payments for gas consumed every month. “As per the contract, the PMPML need not pay anything for the first 15 days of the month. On the 16th day, they must pay Rs4.5 crore and thereafter, Rs30 lakh daily till the end of the month,” an MNGL official explained. “PMPML consumes CNG worth Rs10 crore per month, of which only Rs5-7 crore is paid,” the official explained.
The gas utility said it shot off 33 letters to various authorities — PMPML, PMC, PCMC, the collector, guardian minister, and state urban development department included — between December 2018 and May 15. “We didn’t receive a positive response. Some have not even acknowledged receiving the communication,” the official claimed.
The MNGL official said the transport body has accumulated dues to the tune of Rs28 crore; after applying a penal interest and GST, the total arrears stand at Rs48.92 crore. The gas utility claimed that PMPML refuses to pay GST, as natural gas does not fall under GST’s purview. “However, GST is levied on all allied services, including transport of gas, which we pass on to the customers — PMPML in this case,” the official added.
MNGL said the utility should have no trouble clearing the dues, as it regularly pays for diesel by way of advance demand draft. “To top it all, PMPML plans to add 400 more CNG buses to its fleet,” the official said.
Gunde, meanwhile, said it was unlikely that MNGL will stop the supply. “We will seek funds from PMC and PCMC to pay MNGL. We don’t think they will stop providing CNG to us,” the PMPML chief said.
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