Karnataka

After years of losses, Sahakara Sarige calls off bus services

With only a few days left for the 30th anniversary of its launch, the Transport Cooperative Society, popularly known as Sahakara Sarige, has called off its services temporarily. Unable to bear the increasing losses, the executive committee of the society has stopped services on 76 routes spread over Chikkamagaluru, Udupi and Shivamogga districts.

E.S. Dharmappa, president of the society, convened a meeting of employees in Koppa on Sunday to discuss the future course of action. The society is finding it difficult to clear a loan of ₹11.5 crore, with the increase in diesel prices and other costs.

The society has 68 buses, with a total of 300 workers, depending on its operations. It has not been able to pay insurance and road tax. The society has appealed to the State government repeatedly to come to its rescue. A delegation had met Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa also in this regard.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Dharmappa said the services would be restarted if the society received financial support. “We are waiting for the Deputy Commissioner’s response,” he said.

The society shared this information on social media on Saturday night across three districts. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation allotted eight buses on these routes on Sunday to help passengers. However, the impact of this temporary shutdown of services could be severe from Monday as more than 12,000 students depend on Sahakara Sarige buses to reach schools and colleges.

Cooperative model

Sahakara Sarige came into existence on March 8, 1991, after Shankar Transport Company, a private firm, closed its operations, and its workers came together to run it on a cooperative model. They adopted an employee-friendly bylaw and the society grew from four buses to 68 over the years. Here, employees are elected to the executive body.

The society offered services in remote areas in the hilly parts of the three districts. It provided students and the physically challenged with passes and concession fare for the elderly. It was making a profit till 2013. Interestingly, many experts from distant places, including researchers from Japan, came here to study its business model.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:59:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/after-years-of-losses-sahakara-sarige-calls-off-bus-services/article30836870.ece

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