CHENNAI: Transport Minister MR Vijaya Basker said the assets of seven transport corporations were mortgaged and loans to the tune of `30.50 crore obtained from various bank during the DMK regime.
Speaking to the media persons at the Secretariat here on Wednesday, the minister said Stalin forgot that it was during the DMK regime that a loan of `2.50 crore was obtained from the Indian Bank on February 7, 1997 by pledging the Metropolitan Transport Corporation headquarters, Pallavan Illam.
The depots and bus stands of Ayanavaram, Mandaveli, Anna Nagar (West), Ambattur and Tiruvanmiyur, Pattulas Road and Basin Palam depot and Metropolitan Transport Corporation headquarters were pledged for `30 crore by then DMK government, charged the Minister.
A few days ago, DMK working president M K Stalin expressed shock over the reports that the MTC headquarters Pallavan Illavan was pledged for `7.50. He also blamed the State government for the poor condition of transport corporations. Vijaya BaskEr said that debts of the MTC were less compared to the other transport corporations.
“The total of liabilities of the MTC are `554.50 crore, while the Bengaluru Transport Corporation owes about `594.7 crore,” he said. Comparing ticket fares from various States, the Minister said that bus ticket fares were the lowest in Tamil Nadu, compared to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana.
He added that eight transport corporations catered for two crore people a day, equal to the total number of passengers served by the Railways across the country. He attributed the development of the transport department in the State to the loans obtained from banks.
Setc in the red
Assets of State Express Transport Corporation (SETC), Tamil Nadu, worth `443 crore had been mortgaged for availing loans to run the corporation, reveals the reply to an RTI query filed by a Madurai-based activist K Hakkim. SETC has 22 depots in various places in Tamil Nadu and other States, including Kerala. It also owns several vehicles such as 1,160 buses, including 78 spare buses, 32 jeeps, 23 water lorries, three ambulances and two cars - Ambassador and two jeeps - Scorpio. The mortgaged properties include 225 buses, six depots, five bus stands and a body building unit