The state cabinet, on Wednesday, sanctioned a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore to the fund starved Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). The government last month had sanctioned Rs 120 crore as an advance from the contingency fund to pay salaries to the employees till October.
The amount of this advance will be deducted and the remaining Rs 880 crore will be paid to MSRTC in 6 monthly instalments. This amount will be approved as a supplementary demand in the winter session (Rs 150 crore per month for November 2020 to March 2021 and Rs 130 crore for April 2021).
MSRTC has 99,787 employees and it spends 40% on salaries and wages and 32% on fuel. Due to the lockdown from March 23, MSRTC’s transport services were closed, except for essential services, adversely affecting its revenue and making it difficult to pay employees. The number of daily passengers has yet to pick up as the fear factor still exists due to COVID-19 crisis.
Free Press Journal broke the story about the government’s move to provide Rs 1,000 crore to MSRTC. Transport Minister Anil Parab had sought Rs 3,600 crore to keep the MSRTC afloat. Its accumulated loss had surged at Rs 5,000 crore. MSRTC, with 18,000 buses, had disbursed salaries of August, September and October last month.
Parab said MSRTC was exploring an option of raising Rs 2,000 crore from the market. 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.