Talks hit a roadblock with TS insisting on parity in routes too; union seeks government intervention
The inordinate delay in resumption of the inter-State RTC bus services between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after the lockdown, primarily due to differences over key issues such as parity in operations, is as worrying for the people as it is for the management of the public sector giant.
The deadlock continues even after three rounds of talks between the two sides.
Officials of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) had met their Telangana counterparts to discuss key issues and resume operations but, the talks hit a roadblock each time.
Admitting that the delay does not augur well for the APSRTC, which is reeling under serious financial crisis due to accumulated revenue loss over the years, the officials are eager to break the ice.
“We are trying our best to find a way forward, and we expect to get some clarity on the issue by Wednesday (October 7),” said the corporation’s Executive Director (Operations) K.S. Brahmananda Reddy.
Why the deadlock?
The APSRTC, which operates more number of buses to Telangana and covers a greater distance in terms of kilometers in the neighbouring State, had to make a difficult decision on reducing its operations to arrive at a parity in kilometers.
“Telangana now is insisting on parity in routes, which does not exist in any State agreements. We will have to look into it and discuss the issue threadbare before arriving at a decision,” Principal Secretary (Transport) and APSRTC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director M.T. Krishna Babu, had said, emerging from the talks.
Expressing concern over the fact that the RTC of both the Telugu States had been incurring a daily loss of around ₹5 crore due to the stalemate, leaders of the APSRTC Employees’ Union have urged the government to intervene and thrash out an early solution to the problem.
Private operators making hay
Meanwhile, making the best of the absence of the RTC buses on the road, the private operators have been fleecing the public by charging exorbitant fares.
With the Dasara festivities approaching, a large number of people who want to visit the neighbouring State are pinning hopes on resumption of RTC bus services by then.
Dasara is the time to earn some additional revenue for the RTC, which runs special buses to cater to the transport needs of the people.
In 2019, the APSRTC had operated 5,887 special buses, which brought a revenue of around ₹229 crore. In 2018, the festival season fetched a revenue of ₹209 crore.
Whether this year the festival will bring good tidings for the cash-strapped transport corporation is to be seen.