The State Cabinet on Monday approved the Transport department proposal for providing financial incentives to private transport operators for augmenting passenger transport services in Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) affected areas.
The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, decided to exempt motor vehicle tax and permit fees of vehicles financed under the scheme for rural transport connectivity in the scheduled and backward districts.
Briefing the Cabinet decision, Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra said the rural transport connectivity scheme was announced in the State budget for 2013-14 with a view to improve public transportation services in the tribal- dominated backward areas, including 108 LWE-affected blocks which are considered to be economically unviable by the private transport operators.
Under this scheme, entrepreneurs, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Government and private operators will be provided incentives for operating light and medium commercial passenger vehicles having seating capacity of 10-26 seats. The Government will provide interest subsidy of 3 per cent on the bank loan to the private operators for procurement of passenger carriage vehicles. An additional subsidy of 2 pc will also be provided for timely repayment of the loan. Besides, road tax and permit fees will be exempted, Mohapatra said.
Routes to be serviced under this scheme will be identified by a block level committee (BLC) under the chairmanship of the sub-collector. These routes will be advertised in the local newspapers seeking participation of the entrepreneurs. Eligible operator will be selected by the block level committee giving due preference to the applicants belonging to the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. The BLC will also recommend fare structure to be adopted for these routes in order to ensure commercial viability.
This scheme approved by the Cabinet will entail annual recurring expenditure of `4.25 cr towards interest subvention and exemption of permit fees and road tax which are estimated at `1.42 cr. The Cabinet also approved the proposal to provide financial support to the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) to procure 100 small buses to be deployed on selected routes of LWE-affected areas.
The Chief Secretary said the Government will reimburse road tax, insurance and permit fees for plying these 100 buses for a period of four years. The total financial assistance to the OSRTC for the purpose will be around ` 21 cr.