Hyderabad: Keeping in view that the management of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation is mulling to recommend an increase of about 40 paise per km, people will look for alternatives as they have not recovered from the negative impact of Covid-19 on their income. TSRTC is getting ready to burn a bigger hole in the pockets of the public.
According to the officials of TSRTC, the Corporation has suffered a loss of Rs. 3,000 crore during the pandemic and the situation is such that the authorities are unable to pay salaries to the employees on time. Hence the TSRTC feels that this hike would be inevitable as it needs to overcome the losses and bear the burden of pay revision which is due.
Experts feel that without improving the connectivity if the TSRTC goes in for a tariff hike, it would result in passengers going away from the RTC. Passengers will not mind spending additional Rs. 300 or Rs. 400 as it may save on their petrol bills in case the service is good and if they have better connectivity which is badly lacking at present.
It may be recalled that during 2019, the TSRTC fares were increased by 20 paise per kilometre to mop up Rs. 750 crore, the hike resulted in additional revenue of over Rs. 50 lakh per day for the corporation. A senior official on the condition of anonymity said that the gap between income and expenditure was increasing and the corporation needs Rs. 1,500 crore to put it back on track.
Trade Union leader and former director of APSRTC M. Nageswara Rao said that it was wrong to attribute losses to pandemic completely. He said Covid19 impact was there only from March 2020 but there were losses to the RTC to the tune of Rs. 1,000 crore before 2020 and Rs. 929 crore during 2018-19, when there was no pandemic. The officials were misleading the Chief Minister stating that the price hike was the only option. Ticket fare hike was not the only option for the government, he said. According to the former director, the real problem lies in TSRTC’s mismanagement of routes. He said, they miserably failed to exercise rationality in operating buses on certain routes.
The government collects Rs. 800 crore in the form of taxes from different Corporations like VAT, Sales Taxes, MV Tax, Income Tax, etc. If the government allows a fare hike of 5 per cent every year, the corporation can sustain the diesel price hike, he said, additing that if the fares are increased, passenger will look for alternatives. (Munsif News Bureau)