Hyderabad: The government of Telangana may hike the bus fares and electricity tariff to overcome the losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in fuel prices.
The proposals for revising the bus fares of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and the electricity charges will be discussed in the next cabinet meeting.
This emerged after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao reviewed the financial position of state-owned transport body and Telangana power generation and transmission corporations.
According to statement released from the chief minister’s office late Tuesday, the Cabinet at its next meeting will discuss the proposals for increasing bus fares and electricity tariff.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, regretted that the TSRTC has once again slipped into losses and financial crisis due to increase in the price of petrol and diesel. He recalled that two years ago strong measures were initiated to the put the RTC back on track and when it was about to be on the recovery path, COVID pandemic and increase in petrol and diesel again pushed it into losses.
The CM made it clear that the government would take all the required measures to make the RTC stand on its own again.
The officials informed the CM that since diesel price increased by Rs 22 per litre in the last one and half years, RTC had to bear an additional loss of Rs 550 crore. They said along with the increased diesel and petrol prices, the increase in the prices of tyres, tubes and other spare parts of the buses was also pushing RTC into losses. All these increased costs are putting Rs 600 crore additional burden on the Corporation, they said.
The officials said with COVID pandemic impact on one side and the increase in the price of petrol, diesel and spare parts have doubled the adverse impact on the RTC financial situation. They pointed out that the COVID pandemic lockdown had resulted in the RTC losing Rs 3,000 crore revenue.
In Hyderabad zone alone the losses were about Rs 90 crore per month, the officials explained to the CM. They said 97 depots across the state were also running into losses. In these troubled times, there was no option but to increase the bus ticket rates, transport minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar and RTC officials told KCR.
They also reminded the CM that the government had announced in the Legislative Assembly in March 2020 that the RTC bus fares would be increased but it did not implement the increase due to COVID pandemic.
They said besides increasing the bus fares, alternative sources of revenue have also to be explored. The CM said that the government would take all the required measures to support the RTC and asked the officials concerned to come out with a report and proposals to the next Cabinet. He said the proposals would be discussed in the Cabinet and decisions would be taken.
The chief minister also had discussion with energy minister Jagadeesh Reddy and Telangana Generation Corporation and Transmission Corporation CMD Prabhakar Rao. They said that like all other sectors, the electricity sector too is in heavy losses due to the COVID pandemic.
They said that the electricity charges have not been increased for the past six years and there was no option left but to increase them now to put the power sector back on track.
KCR said that along with the RTC proposals, proposals for the electricity department would also be discussed in the next Cabinet and a decision would be taken.