HYDERABAD: Stating that his government has no plans to privatise the AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), transport minister Sidda Raghava Rao dropped hints that the government would allow the corporation to increase bus fares.
Speaking to reporters at the secretariat here on Thursday, the minister said though there has been an increase in diesel price the corporation has not increased bus fares and since it is running losses there has been a demand from the management to increase the fares.
“I would take the demand of the corporation management to chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and explain to him about the financial condition of the organisation. However, the final call on bus fare hike and other issues would be taken by the CM,” he said.
Stating that there was no plan to privatise RTC, Raghava Rao said the reports about government’s plan to privatise the corporation were far from true and misleading. In fact, the government was planning to revive the corporation and make it a profit-making organisation and the `250 crore released by the government was part of its initiative to bring RTC out of financial crisis, he said.
He said the government would be introducing 1,000 additional buses on various routes in the coming six months. Among the proposed 1,000 new buses, 100 would be purchased by state government, 400 under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) and 500 private buses would be hired, he said.
To cut fuel expenditure, the corporation is planning to use bio-diesel in place of diesel for its buses, he said and added that the corporation would be setting up solar panels at all its bus stations to save expenditure on power.
The state government has decided to pay Dasara bonus in advance to RTC employees and soon a decision would be taken on announcing DA, he said.
He said the government was planning to convert all the vacant spaces available with the corporation into commercial centres and has plans to develop multiplexes near all its major bus stations.
Stating that most of the roads in the state are in bad shape and damaged due to heavy rains, the transport minister said all the damaged roads would be repaired in the next two months and `200 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose.
He said the state government had set a target of `2,000 crore for the transport department this year. “My department has collected a revenue of `775 crore till August this year,” he said.
APSRTC employees’ Union general secretary K Padmakar, who was also present, asked the government to allow the corporation to use its old buses as goods carriers. “This would help the corporation get additional revenue,” he suggested.