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Telangana State Road Transport Corporation gets a shot in the arm; Rs 140 crore sanctioned to procure new buses

TSRTC bus stops in the middle of the main road to pick up passengers near Jubilee hills in Hyderabad | r satish babu HYDERABAD: Any help is a good help for the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) at this juncture. The corporation has received a shot in the arm by bagging Rs 975.55 crore as budget allocation for 2018-19.

The corporation will also be going shopping for new buses with a Rs140 crore loan from the State government in their pockets. But to stay profitable, it’s better for TSRTC to ditch the tender route and build its own buses, say experts. Prior to the budget announcement, TSRTC officials had sought an assistance of `1,000 from the State.

The corporation so far has an accumulated loss in tune of Rs 2,500 crore with an annual interest rate of Rs150 crore but has been successful in bringing down losses from Rs 700 crore in 2015 to Rs 550 core in 2016 and further down to Rs 270 crore in 2017, financial years. Bus depots too have shown signs of financial recovery. Of the 96 bus depots, only 10 were profitable in 2016, which improved to 27 profitable bus depots in 2017.

The corporation had requested the state government to either provide assistance or allow them to procure loans. The increase of bus fares was also part of their proposal, which was not considered by the government.
“Of the Rs 975.55 crore, Rs 520 crore is reimbursement for various concessions in ticket fares and other services provided by the TSRTC for the public. The state government is also providing Rs 315 crore as reimbursements of loans taken with a government guarantee for the corporation,” said GV Ramana Rao, Managing Director, TSRTC.

“They can buy the chassis and build the bus. An average ordinary TSRTC bus costs `25 to 30 lakh. With `140 crore, the corporation can build over 460 ordinary buses if a bus costs `30 lakh each on an average.

If they go through the tender route, the bus costs will go up as the bus manufacturer will add his own margin,” said GSR Chaitanya, a researcher and policy advisor on Centre and State-operated transport units. TSRTC usually get buses built by private bus bodybuilding manufacturers. Their own Bus Bodybuilding Unit (BBU) has a capacity of only 600 buses per year.

And mostly bus procurement happens in bulk, so BBU will be busy, he added.

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