The Planning Commission is considering the ambitious proposal submitted by the Association of State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU), New Delhi, to ensure bus facility to one lakh villages in Andhra Pradesh, including those in interior and hilly regions, according to association executive director U Sudhkara Rao.
Speaking to the media here Monday, Rao said under the project, a fleet of 50,850 buses would be introduced to provide trasportation facility to one lakh villages in the state during the 12th Five Year Plan period from 2012 to 2017. On the proposed cost-sharing for the project, Rao said it needs `9,154 crore, of which the Union government would bear `7,584 crore, while the state government would contribute `1,570 crore.
Giving a comparison between states, Rao said the Gujarat government had provided bus facility to all its villages, while Rajasthan has also taken up such rural connectivity project.
“The ASRTU will help in providing bus facility to 25 percent of the four lakh uncovered villages in the country within five years. At present, 1.50 lakh buses are plying under 57 state transport undertakings (STUs), covering 1.83 lakh villages in the country,” Rao said. Elaborating on the initiatives taken by the ASRTU, Rao said the association had provided Rs 74 crore for strengthening STUs in the country, of which Rs 10 crore had been given to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC). The fund will be spent on ticket issuing machines (TIMs), online ticket booking facility and passenger information system in respective states.
Only 60 percent of the buses have TIMs, Rao said and stressed on covering all the buses under the project.
Good drivers play a pivotal role in ensuring passenger safety, Rao said, adding the association had granted Rs 50 lakh to the state to set up driver training test track (DTTT). Three such centres have been sanctioned at Karimnagar, Gannavaram and Kurnool, and one more at Tirupati is under consideration.
The Central Institute of Road Transport(CIRT), a technical wing of the ASRTU, is imparting training to drivers on road safety rules for which a fund of Rs 35 lakh have been sanctioned, he said.