BMTC hopes to get NGT nod to add 1,200 buses

In 2019, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has to scrap about 400 buses that have run 8.50 lakh bus kilometres or buses as old as 11 years, BMTC Managing Director N V Prasad said.

Amid soaring losses and old buses adding to the burden with increased maintenance costs, the BMTC has proposed to acquire 1,200 new buses over the next one year, hoping that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) will not show a red signal in the final hearing next month.

In 2019, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has to scrap about 400 buses that have run 8.50 lakh bus kilometres or buses as old as 11 years, BMTC Managing Director N V Prasad said.

The exercise will effectively bring down the strength of the fleet from the existing 6,500, which the activists have long held as inadequate considering the rising demand for better public transport.

“We plan to induct 1,200 buses and hope to obtain the NGT’s nod for the same during the final hearing scheduled on February 27,” he said.

With losses crossing Rs 650 crore by the end of the previous financial year, the corporation is seeking nearly Rs 300 crore government aid to manage its operations. While the previous Siddaramaiah-led govt had cleared a proposal to lease 1,500 buses, officials have sought the government’s help in purchasing the 1,200 buses as per the directions of the Transport Minister, D C Thammanna.

Sources in the legal wing of the Transport Department said the NGT had not blocked the acquisition of new diesel buses. “The NGT has not said that we can’t buy diesel buses but has directed us not to buy without bringing it to their notice in view of increasing pollution in the city. However, considering that the BMTC plays a significant role in reducing emissions despite using BS IV vehicles, we are confident that the NGT will see our positive role,” a source said.

Exemption sought

The government recently gave Rs 100 crore grant to the corporation, which helped in clearing the gratuity pay dues. However, the staggering financial loss has only climbed further high, thanks to the increase in the diesel prices.

The BMTC has also sought exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax, which costs the corporation about Rs 120 crore annually.

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BMTC hopes to get NGT nod to add 1,200 buses

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