No hike in bus fares, says Karnataka Transport Minister

No hike in bus fares, clarifies Karnataka Transport Minister

State Transport Minister Laxman Savadi chairing a meeting of North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) officials and elected representatives in Hubballi on Tuesday. DH photo

Karnataka Transport Minister Laxman Savadi clarified that in spite of ‘compulsion’, the State government has decided not to make any hike in bus fares.

Speaking to media persons after chairing a meeting of North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) officials at its headquarters office in Hubballi on Tuesday, he said the four transportation corporations in Karnataka have sustained accumulative loss of Rs 1,700 crore during the lockdown period.

He said the spread of coronavirus will decide the extent of revenue loss for the four corporations in coming days, as maintaining social distancing would mean that buses cannot run to full capacity.

“The government don’t want to rub salt on the injuries by hiking the bus fare,” he said. Savadi said clear instructions have been given to corporations not to run buses that would result in more losses. “At present, more trips mean more losses,” he said.

Night journey

Currently, all four corporations are running buses between 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, few of the long-route buses are running extra hours also. He said depending upon the passenger demand, the corporations are ready to start night journey from tomorrow itself. He said the State government is waiting for the new guidelines from the Union government, which is expected by June 1, for improving better connectivity.

No job cut

The deputy chief minister also clarified that none of the permanent staff of the four corporations will be sacked. Only those contract employees in BMTC and KSRTC (Bengaluru division) may face the axe, he said and added that all the 1.30 lakh employees of the four corporations have received April month’s full salary (Rs 326 crore). However, the State government has released 50% of May salary and said he would speak to the chief minister to increase its share to ensure that staff get their dues.

He said managements of all the four corporations will be asked to prepare a blueprint for three months on how to review the public transportation and increase its revenue. One of the proposals being put forward is by minimising the ‘overtime’ of staff and preventing pilferage of resources. “Corruption runs from top to bottom in Transportation department and efforts will be made to end that,” he claimed.

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