Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has been suffering from a severe financial crisis. In a bid to keep its services operational, especially during the festive season, Transport Minister Anil Parab has sought Rs 3,600 crore from the state government on an urgent basis. This was necessitated because MSRTC’s accumulated loss mounted to a record Rs 5,500 crore and its daily income of Rs 22 crore dipped to Rs 6 crore following the closure of ST bus services during the lockdown.
MSRTC has resumed services; however, not at full capacity. Passengers are still reluctant and do not want to take any chance amidst the pandemic. Parab said MSRTC will need Rs 900 crore to pay the salary of the last three months since August to 98,000 employees. Three days ago, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar met the representatives of the employee union and assured to meet Parab for the early payment of salaries ahead of Diwali.
“I have requested the state government to provide Rs 3,600 crore so that state transport buses continue to ply, especially during the present festive season and thereafter. Funds are urgently needed to pay salaries and also for the purchase of fuel, tyres and spare parts apart from maintenance. I am aware that the state government has also faced revenue shortfall. Therefore, MSRTC is exploring the option of raising Rs 2,000 crore from the market,” said Parab. Despite the present financial crunch, MSRTC will not hike Diwali fare by 15 per cent.
Parab further stated that MSRTC proposes to increase revenue from freight transport by deploying 3,000 buses that are unfit for passenger transportation. Besides, MSRTC can get contracts for tyre remoulding and bodybuilding. “MSRTC transported mangos and couriers. However, it has the potential to expand its presence in freight transportation and earn revenue. Besides, MSRTC proposes to take contracts for bodybuilding and offer tyre remould services, which will also help the undertaking to mop up additional income. A roadmap is ready. However, it could not be kicked off because of the pandemic. It will be done soon,” he noted.