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KSRTC loses its way, APSRTC makes profit

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Anil Kumar Sastry

MSRTC too does well despite being bigger in size

BANGALORE: Despite splitting the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) into four for operational efficiency, two of them are still incurring losses whereas its counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have been profitable despite remaining single entities.

APSRTC, the world’s largest road transport company with 21,000 buses in its fleet, is performing well since 2006-07 earning a profit of Rs. 40 crore that year and Rs. 135.67 crore in 2007-08. Maharashtra SRTC with 16,000 buses earned a profit of Rs. 23.36 crore in 2006-07 and Rs. 158.04 crore in 2007-08.

Losses

On the other hand, two of the four RTCs in Karnataka – North West KRTC and North East KRTC — are still in the red registering a loss of Rs. 67.06 crore and Rs. 15.96 crore in 2007-08. KSRTC and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) earned a profit of Rs. 40.54 crore and Rs. 140.23 crore during the year.

APSRTC vice-chairman and managing director V. Dinesh Reddy told The Hindu that the corporation expected to earn a profit of Rs. 120 crore in 2008-09 without having increased the fares when the diesel price skyrocketed in September 2008. Mr. Reddy said the focus on rural connectivity by deploying more high-quality buses, named Pallevelugu (meaning rural light) offered the desired results.

Because of the increased frequency and nice exteriors and interiors of Pallevelugu, the load factor in these buses touched 80 per cent from 75 per cent. Besides, APSRTC introduced high quality buses on inter-city and intra-city routes.

MSRTC vice-chairman and managing director Om Prakash Gupta said drastic changes in operational pattern and a complete changeover of the design of buses helped his corporation come out of the red.

While 216 crore passengers travelled in his buses in 2006-07, 225 crore travelled the next year and this year the figures would reach 235 crore, Mr. Gupta said attributing the increased load factor for the improved financial performance. Fares were not substantially increased during these years, he said.

Size matters

Mr. Dinesh Reddy said remaining as the single entity helped APSRTC grow stronger. Having multiple corporations would only add to the costs of establishment and administration, he said.

Trade unions had been opposing the division of KSRTC. Recently, the Karnataka High Court too had set aside division of KSRTC saying it was against the Road Transport Corporation Act, which was under appeal by the Government.

KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Federation general secretary H.V. Ananthasubba Rao told The Hindu that the action was against the RTC Act. KSRTC was formed with one-third equity from the Centre and without Parliament approval the corporation could not have been divided.

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