Karnataka govt leasing e-buses to privatise RTCs: Employees' League

Members of the League, who held a press conference on Monday,   criticised the gross cost model used for leasing buses from private companies
Last Updated : 19 September 2022, 17:20 IST
Last Updated : 19 September 2022, 17:20 IST

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The Karnataka State Road Transport Employees’ League has said that the state and the central governments are using electric bus procurement as a tool to privatise road transport corporations (RTC).

Members of the League, who held a press conference on Monday, criticised the gross cost model used for leasing buses from private companies.

Referring to Transport Minister R Sriramulu’s announcement that 35,000 e-buses will be leased by 2030, the president of League R Chandrashekhar said the governments are not allowing the RTCs to purchase the e-buses.

“Instead, we are made to lease the buses and pay the private companies, who also provide drivers. By 2030, all buses will be private buses. The RTCs will be virtually a private entity. Will this not take away jobs of thousands of people?” he asked.

He said such a transformation was already taking place in some depots, like Yelahanka, where all drivers are from the company providing the e-bus. “Neither the RTCs nor the public will gain anything from this model. Workers of the four RTCs will organise a struggle against the privatisation,” he said.

The league, which organised strikes of the four RTC workers in December 2020 and April 2021, alleged that the management was targeting those who participated in the strikes despite the assurance from the government.

He referred to the incidents of four RTC workers committing suicide in the last three months and blamed the deaths on the officials.

“The government promised to take back the workers who were dismissed for participating in the strike. However, the management is imposing undue conditions to restore their jobs,” Chandrashekhar said adding that many workers are forced to live without wages for 17 months.

He demanded that the police cases should be withdrawn. “We held a strike seeking fulfilment of legitimate demands. One of our demands is to provide salaries on par with government employees who earn 40% more than us,” he said.

The league said the government could not cite the poor financial conditions of the RTCs to deny the rightful wages to the workers. It said the government should focus on addressing the policy crisis.

“Diesel is sold at Rs 88/litre in retail but the BMTC and other RTCs which buy in wholesale are charged Rs 105/litre. The rates should have been less than the retail price for RTCs. On the other hand, the passenger fares are not hiked. So, the BMTC is earning revenue of Rs 35/km while spending Rs 73/km. Workers can’t be blamed for this crisis,” Chandrashekhar said.

Published 19 September 2022, 16:11 IST

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