Andhra Pradesh

RTC expert panel to submit merger report soon

The committee will now focus on replacement of the diesel-run buses with electric vehicles, and submit a report in a month.

The committee will now focus on replacement of the diesel-run buses with electric vehicles, and submit a report in a month.  

Employees’ unions apprehend an adverse impact post the exercise

The expert committee constituted to recommend the modalities for the merger of the A.P. State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) with the government will submit its final report to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy this week.

“We have suggested two options,” Chairman of the committee C. Anjaneya Reddy has said, without divulging the details.

Electric vehicles

The committee will now focus on the second component - replacement of the diesel-run buses with electric vehicles in the RTC fleet, and submit a report in a month.

Even as the merger process is in progress at a pace faster than expected, there is an undercurrent of apprehensions among the RTC unions that have been urging the government to take over the corporation.

Demands

The main demands of the APSRTC Employees’ Union include equal pay on par with government employees, grant of pension and continuation of the existing welfare schemes for employees after merger. Sources in the union say that the leaders apprehend that the merger will be followed by a complete overhaul of the administrative system.

‘Diversion’ of nearly 2,000 acres of land belonging to the RTC across the 13 districts of the State is one such fear. The TDP government, which had allotted 27 acres of RTC land at Gannavaram, where a training academy once existed, to the HCL with a promise to allocate alternative land but did not keep its word, is a case in point.

Cause for worry

The second key component is procurement of electric buses. The Chief Minister’s promise to replace all the 10,000-odd diesel-run buses in the corporation with electric vehicles in phases, has added to the union’s worries.

The RTC fleet now comprises 10,000 of its own buses, besides 2,500 hired buses, and the corporation is said to be paying ₹1,000 crore per annum towards their rent.

The employees’ representatives have been urging the management to do away with the hired buses and acquire own vehicles.

Given the high cost of electric buses, the corporation, with an accumulated revenue loss of ₹7,000 crore, can ill-afford the battery-run buses.

Citing reports of the government’s plans to call tenders for operation of electric buses by private players on September 11, sources say this could be the first step towards the much-feared privatisation of the bus operation, leaving a large number of employees in the lurch.

Dilution of trade unionism, further fragmentation of the RTC zones (currently it has four zones - Vijayawada, Vizianagaram, Nellore and Kadapa), and political involvement are other worries.

“There is a pervading fear that we can be heading towards privatisation in the garb of merger,” said a leader on condition of anonymity.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:22:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/rtc-expert-panel-to-submit-merger-report-soon/article29311086.ece

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