VIJAYAWADA: The spiralling prices of diesel is adding to the AP State Road Transport Corporation’s (APSRTC) woes. The cash-strapped corporation is already in neck deep trouble due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Diesel price, which was around Rs 68.54 per litre, increased by Rs 10.65 from June 1 and now it has reached Rs 79.19. With price hike, the Corporation has to bear an additional burden of Rs 280 crore per annum.
On May 21, the Corporation resumed its operations after two months with around 1,600 buses out of the total 12,700 buses. Now, it is operating 3,400 buses with limited number of passengers, by following the guidelines prescribed by the Centre. The passengers’ occupancy ratio (OR), which was around 72 per cent in March, has dropped to 48 per cent after the two months of lockdown. With a limited number of services being operated in the State, the per day revenue, which used to be around Rs 13 crore before the lockdown, has dropped to Rs 2.5 crore.
APSRTC Executive Director (Operations) KS Brahmananda Reddy told TNIE that three months starting from March is the peak time for the Corporation to augment revenue estimated at Rs 1,310 crore and OR usually be around 80 per cent. The RTC has earned only Rs 90 crore in the past 90 days and the loss is around Rs 1,220 crore.
“With steep hike in the diesel prices, we have to bear the burden of Rs 1.50 per litre. The Corporation has to bear Rs 15 lakh per day and it is around Rs 280 crore per annum,” he explained. Asked whether the government will provide any financial assistance to the Corporation to bear the burden due to the price hike of diesel, Reddy said that the matter will be taken to the notice of the government at the earliest. When RTC had OR of 80 per cent, it faced losses and now OR has dropped to 48 per cent. Before the merger of the corporation with the government, the RTC had liabilities of around Rs 7,000 crore per annum, but the revenue stood at Rs 5,800 crore and the losses stood at Rs 1,200 crore.
After the merger, the government is providing Rs 3,600 crore per annum to the corporation towards payment of salaries of the employees and other needs. Employees Union (EU) general secretary P Damodar said, “At present, the Corporation is earning limited revenue and spending it for its daily needs. The government should provide financial assistance to the APSRTC to tide over the crisis,” he demanded.