Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi has said that the State government is committed to fulfilling all the nine demands of the State road transport corporation employees.
Speaking to media persons after inaugurating the new bus station at Kalghatgi in Dharwad district on Sunday, Mr. Savadi said that the COVID-19-induced lockdown and subsequent restrictions had resulted in losses to the tune of ₹ 3,700 crore to the four road transport corporations in the State. Considering the losses incurred by the RTCs, the State government has so far released ₹ 1,746 crore towards the salaries of the 1.30 lakh employees of these transport corporations, he said.
On the financial position of the four RTCs, he said that when he took charge as Transport Minister, the RTCs had together cumulative losses to the tune of ₹ 3,000 crore of which the government is to pay ₹ 2,980 crore. Subsequent lockdown had further increased the losses and post lockdown, the RTCs were yet to reach the pre-lockdown levels of finances, he said.
The Minister said that following the pandemic, the number of passengers travelling by public transport buses had come down drastically.
The Minister said that 350 electric buses will soon be procured in the State. The Union government has permitted the State to purchase 350 electric buses. While Bengaluru will get 300 electric buses, Dharwad district will get 50, he said.
With nearly 2,000 buses waiting to be scrapped after having seen operations for over one lakh kilometres, the government is planning to convert them into toilets or bathrooms.
He said that the government is looking for MLAs and MPs who will use their local area development funds to procure these old buses and convert them into toilets and bathrooms.
Regarding the dissent over Cabinet expansion, he said that there was nothing wrong in legislators seeking Ministerial posts and the minor differences will be sorted out soon.