A.K. Khan, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of APSRTC, said on Monday that they were awaiting approval of the Central government for implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM - II) in 18 cities in the State.

Stating that Nellore was included in the list of these cities, Mr. Khan said that if the project was approved, it would be possible to introduce modern city buses in the selected cities besides improving the RTC operations in general.

Addressing a press conference held at Umesh Chandra Conference Hall here, Mr. Khan said that a study of the services in Nellore zone was completed and a project report covering all the selected cities under JNNURM was sent to the Central government. There would be a lot of scope for improvement of public transport services in cities under this project, he added.

Mr. Khan said that the hike in diesel rates was proving to be a strong blow to the revenues of RTC and it was creating many problems in bringing the organisation out of losses. Despite the fuel price hike and losses, the RTC was not going for any fare revision. Alternative measures were being explored to create sources of additional revenue generation, he said.

Stating that the State government was helping the RTC, Mr. Khan said that there was a huge burden of Rs. 720 crore when diesel price was hiked steeply six months ago. The latest hike of Rs. 4 per litre of diesel also caused an additional burden of Rs. 180 crore to Rs. 200 crore on the RTC. Efforts were on to get the VAT and MV Tax relief from the government so that the RTC could save Rs. 580 crore, he added.

He said that the RTC fares were not increased in AP even when diesel price was increased six months ago. At that time, bus fares were increased by 10.5 per cent in Maharashtra.

There was automatic fare revision system in some States in times of diesel price hike.

Mr. Khan said that there were uncovered gaps in the RTC’s revenue and over 80 per cent concession was being given on the 30-lakh student bus passes in the State.