KSRTC ready to run buses to Gujarat, Rajasthan

Wants bilateral travel agreement with Maharashtra to go ahead with plan

KSRTC ready to run buses to Gujarat, Rajasthan

With a good number of people from the State travelling to the North Indian states for business and tourism, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has planned to deploy its services to Gujarat and Rajasthan.

But the stumbling block is the absence of a bilateral arrangement with the Maharashtra transport and travel ministry, without which the KSRTC cannot ply buses to Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The two northern states have plenty of tourist attractions in cities and places such as Rann of Kutch, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Gir forests, while Rajasthan has Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Mount Abu.

Karnataka wants to tap into the tourist market, both cultural and religious, and this can be done if there are convenient bus services. The KSRTC’s plan is to deploy the Airavat class of Volvo buses to destinations in both states. Sleeper-class buses like those on the route to Mumbai would be very popular among travellers.

KSRTC Managing Director Rajender Kumar Kataria told Deccan Herald that the
corporation was working hard towards a bilateral agreement with Maharashtra, without which it cannot move forward. 

“We need to have a bilateral pact with Maharashtra. That is why the entry of our buses is barred on certain routes to Gujarat and Rajasthan. Once Maharashtra opens up, travel further North is easier. Our plan is to run KSRTC buses to Gujarat and Rajasthan and this can happen if Maharashtra and Karnataka agree to certain norms,” said Kataria.

The KSRTC is seeking a no-tax regime between the two states and likewise with other states.

“We can agree to specific terms and conditions. Karnataka won’t charge taxes on incoming Maharashtra buses, while the same could apply to Karnataka buses heading towards Maharashtra and beyond. Long-route buses could be tax-free, which would be a major economic benefit to all corporations concerned. Talks are on for the bilateral pact to be signed,” Kataria said.

The corporation is also working on bilateral pacts with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Earlier, the KSRTC had to deal with only one state, but now it has to deal with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh separately. What the bus services are aiming at is a policy like the one existing for private goods carriers.

Certain kinds of carriers need not pay taxes, while some types need to. The KSRTC’s aim is to have some such arrangement for public bus services, which will help save lakhs of rupees.

The KSRTC’s aim is to have a good hold in South India and Western India by having bilateral arrangements.

There are arrangements with Tamil Nadu and Kerala, making travel convenient. The other state governments, for their part, are taking time to sign the pact.

Sources said too many bureaucratic hassles in those states were preventing a quick bilateral pact.

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