A new wing-Public Transport Department-will be created to merge all the employees of the public carrier. With chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy giving the green signal on Tuesday, the state cabinet, which is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, will formally clear the proposal.
The retirement age of the APSRTC employees will be automatically increased to 60 years from the existing 58 years on par with the state government employees. The move is expected to levy a burden of Rs 3,500 crore on the exchequer.
Keeping in view of the poll promise of Reddy, the state government had appointed an experts' committee to study the issue about three months ago.
The decision to convert APSRTC into a government entity was taken after the receipt of the experts’ committee report.
The committee--headed by former DGP, C Anjaneya Reddy, who served as managing director of APSRTC in the past--had dwelt on the issue for about two months and submitted its report to the CM on Tuesday.
The CM held detailed discussions with the committee members--including finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, transport minister Perni Venkatramaiah, APSRTC managing director NV Surendra Babu, principal secretary (transport) MT Krishna Babu, transport commissioner PSR Anjaneyulu and professor C Ramachandraiah--on the road map to revive the APSRTC.
The committee suggested that the passenger fares should be fair and dynamic in nature to manage the finances of the public carrier.
“The CM has accorded his nod to merge APSRTC into government. A new wing--Public Transport Department--will be created exclusively to take RTC employees,” said transport minister Perni Venkatramaiah (Nani). He said that state cabinet would discuss the issue at its Wednesday meeting.
It is a decades-long dream coming true for the APSRTC employees as they have been struggling with inadequate pay benefits and poor service conditions under the corporation.
Although APSRTC enjoyed profits till it commanded the public support about two decades ago, it slipped into red after private operators entering the profit making routes.
The entry of autos had virtually pushed the major public carrier into red making it very difficult to revive its fortunes. APSRTC was brought into profits during YS Rajasekhara Reddy regime as the government gave tax concessions and paid the government dues on time.
However, it once again tripped to losses and massive debts. The APSRTC was literally running on ventilator by depending on securing loans from different financial institutions due to the dipping of occupancy rate.