VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) managing director Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao has said launching nearly 1,000 hired buses will not affect the employees in any way. The decision was taken in the public interest, he said.Addressing a press conference at the RTC House here on Wednesday, Rao clarified that the practice of hiring buses is not new and has been continuing since 1979.
“Currently, the Corporation is operating 995 hired buses. A decision has been taken to introduce 998 more hired buses in the Corporation and tenders have been invited. Among them, 920 buses are Palle Velugu, Express, Deluxe, Super Luxury and City buses. For the first time, the Corporation is introducing 62 non-air-conditioned buses and 16 air-conditioned buses,” he said.
“Due to the dip in revenue following the pandemic, the Corporation is not in a position to buy new buses. Only those with new buses should participate in the tenders. After finalising the tenders, the hired buses’ maintenance and drivers’ salaries will be borne by the owners and the RTC will monitor the bus timings and operation routes,” Rao said.
The MD described the merger of RTC with the government as “extremely rare and historic”. In Karnataka and Telangana, RTC employees have repeatedly staged protests demanding mergers with the government, but the governments there did not respond, he pointed out. "APSRTC employees have no problem with the introduction of hired buses. Injustice will not be done to any employee and no one will be ousted following the introduction of hired buses," he clarified.
“We are appealing to the employees not to panic regarding their job security. The State government has taken the responsibility of 51,000 employees and recruiting 2,000 more employees is not a big deal for the government,” Tirumala Rao said. Referring to the clearance of the debt, the MD said that so far `16,080 crore were cleared and PF arrears were paid to the retired employees.
“We are rapidly making compassionate appointments as the state government responded positively and is recruiting 2,237 employees. In some areas, we are setting up pandals and drinking water kiosks with the help of donors to quench the thirst of the passengers during the summer, “ he said.