BENGALURU: The state government on Tuesday transferred KSRTC managing director Rajender Kumar Kataria to the Commerce and Industries Department, where he will now serve as the Secretary.
Sources told Express that the transfer has nothing to do with the bus accident but Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and KSRTC Chairman K Gopal Poojary were allegedly not in good terms with Kataria. The rumour of Kataria’s transfer has been doing the rounds in Vidhana Soudha for a week. Sources said the minister and chairman sent a letter to the Chief Minister asking for his transfer.
“He was not in the good books of politicians as he insisted on transparency in procurement of new buses, tyres and spareparts,” a source in KSRTC said.
Poojary said, “He has completed two-and-a-half years so he was transferred. There is nothing unusual in this. I don’t have any issues with him. He has done a remarkable work in KSRTC. I have not written any letter to the CM asking for his transfer.” Reddy was unavailable for comment.
“I enjoyed my tenure as MD of KSRTC. I took it as an opportunity to serve the people and to improve the bus services,” Kataria said. He refused to comment on the alleged rift with the minister and chairman.
Kataria, who took charge as the KSRTC MD in 2014, introduced several initiatives, including MITRA, the country’s first Intelligent Transport System in Mysuru along with a mobile app. Under his tenure, KSRTC entered the Limca Book of Records for receiving the most number of awards (125) by a government-run transport utility.
He is also the brainchild behind initiatives like bio-diesel buses, automated fuel stations, and Vehicle Tracking and Monitoring System.
KSRTC made a record Rs 115 crore profit during 2015-16, from which Rs 65 crore was deposited in the gratuity fund of KSRTC employees. “Four state-run transport corporations saved Rs 335 crore in three years after Kataria took an initiative to buy fuel from BPCL instead of IOCL. The transaction charge imposed by private firms on AVATAR online booking reduced from Rs 5.26 per transaction to 52 paisa.”
“He has faced several challenges including transport employees strike and Cauvery protests,” another KSRTC official said.
S R Umashankar who served as Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries Department, will take charge as KSRTC MD on Wednesday.