The threat to uneconomic schedules has come in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling against subsidised diesel for the RTC.

If the move to cancel uneconomic services of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) comes into effect, the most affected will be commuters from remote, rural areas whose sole mode of transport to the nearest urban centres are these buses.

The threat to uneconomic schedules has come in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling against subsidised diesel for the RTC.

Nearly 20 schedules out of the 101 operated from Kottayam would come under this category, said District Transport Officer (DTO) T.A. Kunjumohammed. However, they have not received any directive on the issue so far, he said.

N.G. Soman, Assistant Transport Officer (ATO), Erattupetta sub depot, said they were operating 58 schedules out of which the collection from 15 schedules were below the Rs.7,000 a day mark. “Most of these services were taken up by the Corporation as part of fulfilling its social responsibility,” he said. These services were being operated to remote areas in Teekoy, Wagamon, Chennad, Thalanad, Parathanam, Meladukkom and other areas. Private buses do not operate services on these routes as they are not remunerative.

“Students from these areas depend on the KSRTC services to commute to and fro to their schools and colleges, and farmers take their produces on these buses,” Mr. Soman said. The services were being operated on the basis of the recommendations by people’s representatives and local bodies, he added.

The situation in the western low-lying areas bordering Vembanad lake is not any different. Madanamohanan, ATO, Vaikom sub depot said, “Out of the 52 schedules we operate, nearly a dozen come under the ‘uneconomic’ category.

These trips are being operated to places like TV Puram and Moothedathukavu, just six to seven kilo metres away. These services serve people in remote areas to reach Kottayam Government Medical College and the colleges in Kottayam and Ernakulam,” he said.

The KSRTC authorities at Ponkunnam sub depot too echoed the same sentiment. Out of the 38 schedules operated from Ponkunnam, nine were running at a loss.

“While nearly 30 per cent of the services are operating at a loss, some of the profit making routes were making up to Rs.38,000,” said one officer, seeking anonymity.

KSRTC operates depots in Kottayam, Changanassery and Pala and sub depots in Erattupetta, Ponkunnam and Vaikom. They also have one operating centre at Erumeli which contributes copiously to the Corporation’s coffers during the Sabarimala pilgrim season.

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