Faced with a hefty bill of close to R1 lakh crore this fiscal towards compensating oil marketing companies on selling diesel below cost and naysaying by the finance ministry, the petroleum ministry is set to ask the bulk consumers of the fuel to buy it at market rates.

Currently, bulk consumers — power plants based on diesel, companies with captive power units, the railways and road transport corporations — buy the fuel at subsidised rates but at slightly lower rates than the retail consumer, thanks to a waiver of dealers’ commission and discounts offered by the oil companies which compete to get the tenders.