KARNATAKA

Ashok: payment to private operators will be withheld

R. Ashok

R. Ashok  

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The Karnataka North West Road Transport Corporation, Hubli, with an accumulated loss of Rs. 280 crore owing to irregularities including the decision to allow private operators to ply buses on its routes, will withhold payment of Rs. 20 crore to them towards diesel for violating the agreement, Transport Minister R. Ashok has said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, he said that the losses had come down to Rs. 4 crore from around Rs. 25 crore.

He said the department would request Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to give tax exemption to KNWRTC and convert the loans given to the corporation as equity. Then, the corporation would make profits.

Listing the irregularities, Mr. Ashok said that the tyres supplied to it by Michigan Tyres of Uttar Pradesh were of inferior quality.

He said that 500 buses were taken from private operators for use on its routes, but they took the payment from the corporation without running the services.

The corporation, he said, had been ordered to withhold payment of Rs. 14 crore towards pending bills. Even the maintenance cost charged was very high, the Minister added.

Mr. Ashok said some senior officials had been suspended and an inquiry was held into the irregularities.

The Bijapur district operations had been shifted to the Karnataka North East Road Transport Corporation, which had made a profit of Rs.10 crore for the first time. The Government had been requested to exempt it from payment of taxes, which came to Rs. 30 crore.

A fleet of 350 buses would be added to the corporation.

The Minister said that KSRTC and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), for which he was the chairman, had made a profit of Rs. 45 crore each during the year.

Mr. Ashok said that a Rs. 600-crore plan had been approved for improving KSRTC and BMTC.

Bus depots would be built and other facilities created.

Mr. Ashok said he was attending the Transport Ministers meeting convened by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath on February 5 to discuss the issue of amending the rules and regulations for imposing fines on drivers of all vehicles and cancelling their licences, if they violated the traffic rules repeatedly. The penalty would also be increased on such violators.

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