VIJAYAWADA: With uncertainty looming over an interstate agreement for resumption of bus services to Telangana, APSRTC vice chairman and managing director MT Krishna Babu has decided to hold talks with his Telangana counterpart, Sunil Sharma, in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media here on Sunday, the APSRTC official said, “After Unlock 3 was announced, we wrote to Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu governments seeking permission for resuming the bus services. Responding to our letter, Karnataka gave its consent on June 17. Tamil Nadu government said it had only permitted plying of intra-district buses and is yet to take a call on interstate operations as the state is still reporting high Covid-19 cases.”
However, Telangana and Odisha are yet to give their consent for the interstate agreements, Krishna Babu said, adding two rounds of discussions held by officials of APSRTC and TSRTC in Vijayawada and Hyderabad didn’t yield any desired result.
“Their (TSRTC’s) primary demand is to operate services on kilometer parity basis. As per the AP Reorganisation Act, there is a provision that states that services can be operated without any permit. Until lately, the APSRTC had been covering 3.43 lakh km in Telangana, while TSRTC was covering 95,000 km in AP.”
The VC and MD stated that the 3.43 lakh km distance was brought down to 2.65 lakh km following requests by the TSRTC, which is expected to increase its operations in AP from 95,000 km to 1.52 lakh km. “In our representation, we have asked them to increase their operations by 55,000 km, while we will be reducing ours by 1.10 lakh km. This will definitely benefit private players as they will rush to fill in the demand. Around 700 private buses are still plying in the state after getting stay orders from the judiciary,” he said, adding that 400 more private buses will join the fleet soon.
Also, the Telangana government has written to the state stating that it does not have any proposal to buy new buses or launch additional services. “During the meeting on Tuesday, we will take a concrete decision on the interstate agreement. At present, there is a huge demand for Vijayawada and Hyderabad route, and taxis and maxi cabs are charging passengers exorbitantly, Krishna Babu said, adding lack of resolution to the issue will benefit private operators.
On resumption of RTC’s city services in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, Krishna Babu said the corporation had written to Special Chief Secretary (Health) and was expecting a positive response from the government. On private buses charging exorbitant fares from the passengers, Krishna Babu said instructions were given to the transport department to conduct enforcement drives.