The transport department has presented a roadmap for proposed chief minister’s rural transport service to make up for lack of transport facilities in rural areas following closure of Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC).
In a note forwarded by transport secretary Manish Shrivastava, transport department suggests that the transport service could be started with 1,000 buses with sitting capacity of 12 to 18 and average cost of Rs 4 to 5 lakh in the first phase in those rural pockets where need of public transport facility was being desperately felt.
“The decision to close MPSRTC was taken by the state government in February 2005 and from 2010 services of buses run on contractual basis by the MPSRTC was also suspended. In lieu of this, private operators were given permits to ply on major routes,” says the note of the transport secretary.
The note further said that there are routes, especially in the rural areas, where there were no demands for permits from these operators considering small volume of business and this has adversely affected public transport facilities in rural areas of the state.
According to the note, the state government should bear half the amount of the total cost of the vehicle under its welfare schemes in the form of grant to the beneficiaries and the remaining half should be provided to the operators through bank loans.
The total cost to buy 1,000 buses will be Rs 50 crore of which the state government will bear Rs 25 crore. The note also suggests constructing bus stops on such rural routes.
However, president of Contract Bus Owners’ Association Shyam Sundar Sharma said, “The state government would be wasting public money if they go ahead with this plan. MPSRTC could be revived even if they spend Rs 100 crore on it. This would also save the Rs 5,000 crore asset of MPSRTC from going into wrong hands and mafias.”