The APSRTC, one the largest public road transport organisation in the world till the State bifurcation, is now in big mess. The RTC is facing severe financial crisis and there is a threat of the RTC bringing down its investment on new and upgraded vehicles. This would mean that the travel agencies in the private sector would take the lion’s share of the commuters leaving the RTC in bigger mess.
The RTC is facing crisis for two reasons – the investment on the administration is increasing every year with the organisation paying more to the executive officers and increasing expenditure on their luxuries, including their offices. The administrative cost thus had increased over the years. The second reason is the subsidies that the successive governments promise for the people on the RTC travel. The political parties, in an attempt to woo the voters, have been offering concessional travel to cross sections of the people and those subsidies are not paid back to the RTC or paid in short instalments which is not in commensurate the expenditure. The gap between the subsidies that the TRC is forced to give to the commuters and the repayment made by the government is widening every year pushing the transport corporation into financial crisis.
In the last five years, particularly during the last two years, the State government had put huge burden on the RTC. The ruling Telugu Desam Party leaders from every RTC Depot area were given free hand to hire buses from the RTC and take people to see Amaravati, the capital city, works and the Polavaram Project site. This is in addition to the buses hired by the government for the chief minister’s public meetings during the last two years. In all, the government had hired over 7,600 buses for Chandrababu Naidu’s Dharma Porata Deeksha meetings and the Polavaram visits. On this count, the State government has to pay Rs 225 crore to the APSRTC, which is not paid yet.
Meanwhile, the employees of the RTC have given strike notice fearing threat to the RTC’s survival both from the government and the private sector. If the employees go on strike, it would cause additional suffering to the RTC. It is to be seen how the RTC management would handle this major crisis.