Decision on Pvt Bus Permits Causing Big Loss to KSRTC

The state exchequer suffers a loss of minimum Rs1.23 lakh per day following the recent decision renewing the super-class permits of private buses. With the State Government making it clear that decision wouldn’t be revoked for a period of at least three months, the expected loss would run into crores of rupees, say sources.

It was as part of an effort to rescue the loss-making KSRTC that the government had earlier decided not to renew 271 super class permits of private buses across the state. Based on this, the KSRTC took over 91 routes earlier operated by private services, and started operations through 41 routes. It was at this point that a new order was issued on July 17, allowing to renew the permits of private super class services.The decision has already invited severe criticisms from various quarters and trade unions have already launched protests over the decision.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan recently clarified that the decision to renew permits of private services, was only a stop-gap arrangement and that a final decision on private super-class services will soon be worked out. However, as of now, renewing the permits of private buses is causing huge financial loss to KSRTC. As per preliminary info, each KSRTC schedule operating along with private services, suffers a loss of `3000.

“Many services operate 5-6 schedules per day. Even if it is one schedule per day, the 41 routes together cause a loss of Rs1.23 lakh per day,” pointed out C K Hari Krishnan, state general secretary of the Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association (KSRTEA).

Going by these figures, the minimum loss suffered by the corporation since July 17, would be at least `15 lakh. However the actual loss would be much more, say officials.

The 41 routes include Pathanamthitta – Pulpally, Kottayam – Perikkalloor, Pathanamthitta – Thirunelli, Pathanamthitta – Udayagiri. Here, the minimum loss per schedule would be between `10,000-`15,000.

Losses along long-distance routes like Thrissur-Kozhikode and crowded routes like Wayanad-Kozhikode would be much more. Though the minister promised to discuss the issue with the unions, nothing had happened so far, said Kerala State Transport Drivers Union vice-president K G Babu. Interestingly, the private bus operators too are unhappy with the current situation. “Not only the KSRTC services but the private buses are also running on loss to the tune of about `2000 per schedule. The private operators obtain the permit after long delay and after securing clearances from many authorities.

Operating both KSRTC and private services along a route is not suitable. We have requested the government to change the time schedule of these services. In central Kerala, these services need at least `7,200 to operate but we make a profit of only `4,500-`5,000 only,” said M B Sathyan of Private Bus Operators Association.

‘27 Profitable’

A top KSRTC official said even before the new order was issued, some private buses were operating along these routes. “Of 41 routes in which both KSRTC and private services are operating, 27 are profitable,” he said.

New Indian Express