KARNATAKA

Sindhia opposes `move' to privatise KSRTC

MYSORE AUG. 10. The Janata Dal (U) leader, P.G.R.Sindhia, has criticised the reported move to privatise KSRTC. He said the employees of the corporation and the people would not allow it.

Speaking to presspersons here today, Mr. Sindhia said the move would affect the more than 75,000 employees of the corporation. He said the KSRTC ferried more than 90 lakh passengers a day and earned an income of over Rs. 1,400 crore.

The Janata Dal Government had provided Rs. 300 crore for strengthening the KSRTC, and the reported move of the State Government would affect its employees and the public, he said. Stating that the KSRTC was considered the best corporation in the country, Mr. Sindhia said the other steps of the Government in the transport sector would also affect the fortunes of the corporation.

He said that the proposed amendment to Contract Carriage Act and the denationalisation of routes near towns across the State would hit the KSRTC economically. "Over the next 15 months, KSRTC will report losses, and the Government's initiative will benefit private operators," he said. Mr. Sindhia, who is a former Transport Minister, said the routes had been divided between the corporation and private operators in the ratio of 70:30, and that the proposed amendments would reverse the ratio.

The KSRTC was not sick, and the Government was not looking at the future of a large number of employees, he said. The Government had progressively reduced financial support to KSRTC, and the nearly Rs. 70 crore aid given to the corporation had been withdrawn already, he added. In case, the Government was unable to invest money on the corporation, it could take buses on contract. Instead of these steps, it was planning to privatise the corporation, he said.

On the proposal to increase power tariff, Mr. Sindhia said the four electricity supply companies had approached the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) for such a revision. He said the move would affect the middle class and also small entrepreneurs. Stressing that the demand was not justified, Mr. Sindhia pointed out that the power companies had increased the tariff only last year. Frequent increase in tariff would lead to industrialists shifting to other States.