TAMIL NADU

Nod for amalgamation of more transport corporations

Chennai Aug. 10. The amalgamation of 21 State transport corporations into 7 corporations has been approved in principle by the Department of Company Affairs, New Delhi. The process will commence in next two months, said a senior transport official.

According to the proposal, the corporations of Kancheepuram and Vellore districts will merge with the Villipuram corporation.

The Dharmapuri corporation will merge with that of Salem.

The corporation of the Erode and Udhagamandalam division will merge with the Coimbatore corporation.

Tiruchi, Karaikudi and Pudukottai corporations will come under the administrative control of the Kumbakonam corporation. The Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Nagercoil and Tirunelveli corporations will come under the Madurai division.

The decision was taken by the State Government to rein in increasing administrative overheads and establishment costs.

More than 50 per cent of revenue generated by undertakings goes for paying salaries.

Another 20 per cent is utilised for maintenance of the corporation, according to an official. In June, the 21 corporations incurred about Rs. 113 crores towards establishment and administrative costs.

The amalgamation, according to the department's policy, would also help in curtailing competition among the State undertakings.

"Bus routes will be rationalised and ageing buses will be condemned,'' said the official.

The department has planned to retrench at least 30,000 employees.

A special voluntary retirement scheme is being drawn up by the Pallavan Transport Consultancy Service.

At present, employees, under a voluntary retirement scheme, would receive Rs. 9,000 a year for eight years after retirement.

Decision-making wings such as personnel, procurement, finance and labour relations would be centralised once the amalgamation was completed, he said.

Power would be delegated to personnel at the operating level to ensure smooth daily operations.

However, there was concern among some employees that a centralised system would lead to redtapism and delay in processing and procurement. "We cannot be writing to the headquarters every time we need a small spare.

It will lead to endless delays and more confusion,'' said an employee.

The amalgamation process has been completed in six corporations.

The merger of MTC (division I and II) took place in 2001.

The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Coimbatore Division I and II) and the State Express Transport Corporation (Division I and II) were amalgamated in 2000 and 2002.

According to an SETC official, after the merger the corporation saved more than Rs. 1 crore a year through centralised processing.

Almost 60 competing routes were eliminated.