More pvt investment okay, but don't kill STUs: Minister

More pvt investment okay, but don't kill STUs: Minister

Ramalinga Reddy says corporation buses operate even in remote areas

More pvt investment okay, but don't kill STUs: Minister

Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and the transport ministers of all southern states have expressed their opinion against the privatisation of state transport undertakings (STUs) to ensure that the state buses are within the reach of the common man and survive economically.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on Monday after the Union budget was presented in Parliament, Reddy said: “We have been steadfastly opposing the privatisation of STUs. The Centre has been trying to push this reform for the last two years. The transport ministers of southern India have collectively presented our views to the Centre that we would like the STUs to  remain untouched because the poor and the general public depend on them. With privatisation, the cost would definitely go up. How will people be able to afford hiked bus fares?”

Reddy said the STUs operated even on non-profitable routes, while the private sector operated only on profitable ones. “No private bus goes to the remotest corners of the state, while STUs do. In such circumstances, how can STUs compete with private buses? We want the STUs to be left alone and whatever other reforms have to take place can take place. If we don’t protect the STUs against privatisation, then we’ll be killing the STUs. This should not happen,” Reddy said.

KSRTC’s takeKSRTC Managing Director Rajender Kataria echoed the views of the transport minister. 

“This discussion has been on for the last two years. The most important consideration should be to protect the STUs, or else they will be killed. Profit or no profit, STUs have to operate on various routes, while there is no such consideration for the private sector. Private buses operate only on routes that are profitable, which means they are protected from going to the remotest corners of the state, to which only the public buses ply. There are 60 STUs in the country and my thinking is all of them face the same condition that we do,” Kataria said.

Minister Reddy is for other reforms like bringing in modifications in the legal framework, amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, enabling the eco-system to help the state adopt the new legal framework, abolition of the permit raj, etc. 

“But touching the remotest corners of the state is being done only by the corporations. We have to create conditions that protect the corporations so that they can continue to serve the poor and middle-class. It is our responsibility to see that the corporations thrive in new economic conditions,” Reddy said.