Telugu Velugu buses turn a white elephant

Deficit spending has proved to be a major bane of the transport corporation.

Deficit spending has proved to be a major bane of the transport corporation.  

Patronage comes down after autorickshaws arrive on scene

There seems to be no respite in sight for the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), which is going through a rough patch on account of the strike call given by the workers’ unions in support of their charter of demands.

Among several other liabilities, the Telugu Velugu buses, operated to cater to the needs of people in the rural pockets, have turned into a white elephant for the corporation.

Not very long ago, the Telugu Velugu buses were prime mode of transportation for the rural population, but they lost their charm with the number of autorickshaws multiplying, among other reasons. With the increase in autorickshaws on rural roads, villagers started relying on the new mode of commute, ditching the RTC buses.

At a recent press meet, RTC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director N.V. Surendra Babu explained that State intervention was imperative to save the organisation. Over the years, the distance covered in terms of km by the Telugu Velugu buses has shrunk following lack of public patronage, but the corporation has no choice but to operate them.

In the financial year 2016-17, the corporation had 5,558 Telugu Velugu buses, which travelled a distance of 6,649 lakh km. In 2017-18, a fewer number of 5,591 buses criss-crossed villages, covering a distance of 6,522 lakh km, and in 2018-19, a total of 5,669 buses travelled across 6,421 lakh km.

Liabilities galore

The RTC has a fleet of 12,027 buses, which operate in 3,803 routes, connecting 14,123 villages across the 13 districts of the State and catering to 2,372 million passengers per annum. It has 53,261 employees working in 128 bus depots and 427 bus stations. Deficit spending has proved to be a major bane for the Corporation. The gross revenue of RTC was ₹ 4939.64 crore in 2016 against an expenditure of ₹5674.54 crore, ₹5250.42 crore revenue against a spending of ₹ 6040.35 crore in the next year (2017), a revenue of ₹5582.73 crore against an expenditure of ₹6788.12 crore in 2018 and in 2019 (provisional), it is ₹5995.50 crore against an expenditure of ₹ 7025.27 crore.

The public sector transport needs an immediate budgetary allocation of ₹ 998.75 crore for reimbursement of concessions including arrears, ₹ 666.50 crore for replacement and augmentation of buses and ₹2,052.70 crore towards grant-in-aid for repayment of current liabilities. The total sum runs into a whopping ₹3,717.95 crore.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 3:25:07 PM |

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