The private bus operators in the State has demanded a special package on the lines of the revival package announced by the government for the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
“The private bus operators operate three times more services than the KSRTC. But 80% of the buses are off roads due to poor patronage. We were given only six months concession in road tax from April due to COVID-19. This benefited only 20% of the stage carriers and the tax concession amounted to ₹7 crore,” president of Kerala State Private Bus Operators Federation M.B. Satyan and general secretary Lawerence Babu said.
At the same time, the KSRTC was being provided funds from the exchequer to pay the monthly salary of employees and pension. The government announced that it would write off ₹961 crore from the KSRTC and decided to convert ₹3,194 crore loan as equity.
In addition, the KSRTC would get ₹255 crore for medical reimbursement and for repaying the amount collected from the monthly salary of the employees. The permanent employees were to be given ₹1,500 as monthly interim relief when private bus operators were finding it difficult to fund their fuel needs, they added.
The government should understand that the private sector was also part and parcel of the public transport sector of the State and hence it should not be discriminated against. The government should intervene and come up with a special package for the survival of the private bus industry, Mr. Babu added.