Losses on account of the strike since July 31 crossed a new high of Rs. 261 crore

The losses of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) due to non-operation of services in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on account of the strike since July 31 crossed a new high - Rs. 261 crore as of Saturday evening.

Saturday’s daily situation report has sent warning bells across the top brass, so much so, the Transport Minister Botcha Satyanarayana has called for a meeting on Monday.

Warning bells

The Minister has been constantly in contact with the corporation’s Managing Director A.K. Khan almost every day, though.

But since Thursday, the ‘SoS’ message was loud and clear. Unless the Government helps, the APSRTC will not be able to pay salaries to its employees as usual, by the 30 of the month.

Of the total workforce of 1.23 lakh, about, 62,000 are placed in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

Barring officers and security staff, the rest are all on strike protesting the move by the Congress Working Committee to bifurcate the State. An estimated 11,600 buses of the 22,000-strong fleet of the APSRTC have not been on the roads.

The corporation foots a monthly wage bill of roughly Rs. 210 crore.

When contacted, Executive Director-Operations, G.V. Ramana Rao could not hide the despair over the state of affairs. “It is unlike any other situation we have faced in the past. During the 42 day-long general strike of 2011, we lost about Rs. 100 crore, but this time round, the losses are more than double and still counting, considering that we are unable to bring a single bus on the road,” he said.

Overdraft

As for the corporation getting out an overdraft from the banks, it is said that an overdraft of Rs. 4-5 crore off and on, was normal, but certainly not when the figure runs into hundreds of crores.

Pushed to backburner

“We have a reserve, just to pay our fuel bills and outsourced staff, apart from officers and security staff, but all bills to regular vendors are pushed to the backburner,” he said, a senior officer said.

Reserve

He said that that the reserve would cover salaries to Telangana employees.