Transport Minister GS Bali said the bad condition of roads in the state was taking a toll on Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses and he would take up the matter of the grant of compensation with the government to offset the loss being suffered by the corporation on this count.
While interacting with press, Bali said unlike private operators, the corporation had to ply buses on all the uneconomical rural routes in the interiors as a part of its social obligation. The bad condition of the roads led to the wear and tear of vehicles and the fuel average also came down drastically. He said there was a good case for seeking compensation to bail out the corporation, which had been left deep in the red.
Minister said that the current liability on the HRTC was Rs 367 crore and the corporation had to raise loans to pay salaries. It owed Rs 100 crore on account of provident fund and interest on it and Rs 87 crore on account of special road tax. The liability of arrears of pay revision, pension and gratuity was Rs 30 crore and the corporation had availed cash credit limit to the extent of Rs 43 crore and raised loans amounting to Rs 61 crore. However, he said there was no immediate move to raise the bus fares and the corporation was in the process of finalising schemes for hiring buses on wet lease to bring down the operational costs.
Bali said that corporation was regularly making efforts to improve its functioning and now it’s yielding results and the income had gone up by Rs 4.50 per km per bus and the fuel efficiency had also increased by 0.15 km to the litre.
Minister also accused previous BJP government for putting extra burden on HRTC. He said that previous Govt had left Corporation in a “terrible financial mess”.
Commenting on the employees’ agitation, Transport Minister asked HRTC employees to cooperate to help improve the financial health of the corporation. He also warned HRTC Employees Union against indulging in indiscipline and holding gate meetings during the office hours, and said that stringent action would be taken against such leaders. He threatened to take stern action to deal with defiant employee. He said that gate meetings would be videographed to identify such leaders and stringent action would be taken against those staying out during the office hours.
Transport Minister said that Govt working hard to clear the arrears of pension and revised pay scales, overtime, medical reimbursement bills, gratuity, provident Fund and leave encashment.