THI The setting up of the Kerala Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) has cleared the decks for the procurement of 400 low-floor buses with assistance from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
The KUTC, a subsidiary of the State-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), had been set up on the lines of the one in Karnataka.
The setting up of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was the main condition put forth by the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Governance (CSMC) in September for the release of the first tranche of funds for the purchase of 400 buses under the JNNURM extended scheme.
“The letter of award had been handed over to the CSMC as the Cabinet had given the nod to set up the KUTC,” a top official of the KSRTC told The Hindu. The Chairman and Managing Director (MD) of KSRTC will be the MD of the new corporation. The other modalities were being worked out, sources said.
The RTC Act of 1964 allowed the State transport utility to set up a subsidiary. The KSRTC had approached the Cabinet on this basis to retain the fleet of low-floor buses under it.
In addition to the 400 new buses, the 313 vehicles purchased with financial assistance from JNNURM, operating in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam since 2009, would be brought under the KUTC.
The newly acquired low-floor buses would be launched in the rest of the districts. The 12 districts had been clubbed into five clusters based on homogeneity and demographic profile for smooth fleet operations, sources said.
Kozhikode, Kalpetta and Malappuram had been grouped under Cluster I; Kottayam, Thodupuzha, and Pathanamthitta (Cluster II); Kannur and Kasaragod (Cluster III); Thrissur and Palakkad (Cluster IV); and Kollam and Alappuzha, under Cluster V.
As much as 80 per cent of the cost would be borne by the Centre and the remaining by the State. It was not known whether the revenue from these buses would be maintained separately or clubbed with the KSRTC account.