HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is preparing to mortgage more properties to purchase new buses to overcome the present financial crisis. According to sources, the organisation will not be able to pay salaries to its employees in the coming months if the present situation continues.
The APSRTC is the biggest public transport organisation in the country, with a fleet of 22,742 buses, including hired ones, and as many as 1.22 lakh employees. It transports about 1.33 lakh passengers every day through 210 depots across the state.
RTC has been incurring losses for the last 20 years, which now accumulated to `2,700 crore, besides liabilities in the form of loans raised from banks.
RTC officials have reportedly already mortgaged Vijayawada and Guntur depots, Jubilee bus station in Hyderabad and other properties to Hudco and national banks for `800 crore to buy new buses.
The present occupancy of RTC is 70 percent against the required 82 percent for its operations to be profitable. According to officials, they are spending `25 per km, but earning only Rs 23.
It is said the occupancy rate could not be raised due to heavy competition from private and illegal transport operators. Employees’ union leaders allege the government is being soft on private operators. K Padmakar, general secretary of RTC employees’ union said the government should come to the rescue of the organisation. If not, the future of lakhs of employees would be at risk.
He also demanded that the government should allow fare hike whenever diesel prices increase and cover the additional burden that the organisation faces, he said.
APSRTC National Mazdoor Union (NMU) chief M Nageswara Rao said lakhs of rupees are being spent by officials for tours and study visits.