RTC fares, power tariff may be hiked soon

People in the State are likely to see hike in transport fares as well as power tariff in the coming days.

The State Cabinet will soon take a call on the representations made by the managements of the TSRTC and power utilities in this direction. The financially strapped TSRTC which has been permitted to raise loans by the State government reported to the government about the burden imposed on the corporation by the steep rise in petroleum prices.

The corporation was incurring an additional ₹550 crore on account of rise in price of diesel by more than ₹20 a litre. Coupled with this was the steep rise in the prices of spares like tyres and tubes which have taken the burden on the corporation past ₹600 crore. Incidentally, the government had in principle announced its decision to raise the RTC fares in the Assembly, but deferred the decision due to COVID-19 pandemic. The losses suffered by the corporation were estimated to be in excess of ₹3,000 crore since the onset of the pandemic.

The issues figured during a high level meeting convened by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao late on Tuesday evening. The TSRTC management represented to the Chief Minister about the difficulties faced by the corporation especially after the onset of the COVID pandemic.

They acknowledged the manner in which the State government had ome to the rescue of the corporation since the formation of separate State, but it was high time that the corporation stopped depending on the government. They told the Chief Minister that unless the corporation was permitted to hike the charges, it would not be possible to ensure its financial health that suffered due to the pandemic and steep hike in diesel prices.

The Chief Minister assured the TSRTC management that the government was prepared to extend its helping hand to the corporation to the extent possible and the proposals made by the TSRTC would be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting. The Energy department officials too made a fervent appeal to the Chief Minister in the meeting claiming that the power utilities suffered severe losses in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Energy Minister G. Jagdishwar Reddy, accompanied by Transco and Genco CMD D. Prabhakar Rao, represented to the Chief Minister that power sector suffered immensely due to the pandemic. Coupled with this was the government’s decision not to hike the tariff since the past six years to avoid burden on the people which resulted in financial difficulties to the utilities.

The Chief Minister assured that the representations made by the officials concerned would be discussed in the next meeting of the State Council of Ministers and suitable steps would be taken to ensure that the corporation as well as the power utilities recovered from their losses.

The State is already under severe strain on account of finances following the impact of COVID. And it is faced with another commitment in the form of Dalit Bandhu which could prevent the government from announcing some or other concessions to the two fund starved public utilities. As a result, hike in charges is likely to be the best option before the government.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 5:27:01 PM |

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