The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is bleeding dry as it has accumulated a loss of Rs 262 crore in the past five years. Figures procured under the Right to Information (RTI) reveal that the Chandigarh administration-run bus service recorded an income of Rs 91.46 crore while its expenditure was Rs 130 crore in the financial year 2009-10, thus incurring a loss of Rs 39.11 crore.
The following year, the CTU recorded a loss of Rs 37.57 crore with income and expenditure standing at Rs 104.71 crore and Rs 142.28 crore, respectively. Similarly in the subsequent years, the CTU’s expenditure surpassed its income. In 2011-12, the CTU incurred a loss of Rs 43.49 crore. Its losses mounted to Rs 70.17 crore and Rs 71.21 crore in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.
Despite steep hike in diesel prices, the administration’s decision not to hike bus fares for about 10 years has cost the CTU dear. The administration had increased the fares by up to 40% earlier this month. Several of CTU’s proposals mooted for hike in fares were turned down.
The increase in expenditure incurred on maintenance of buses is said to be another reason for the losses. Sources say failure to replace 117 buses which have completed their prescribed life span of eight years has forced the CTU to spend more on maintenance to keep these buses running after getting approvals.
In 2009-10, Rs 6.74 crore was spent on the maintenance of CTU buses. The amount increased to Rs 8.18 crore in the following year. In 2011-12, Rs 9.81 crore was spent on the same. To keep the ageing bus fleet running, the CTU spent Rs 11 crore and Rs 12.15 crore in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.
As per official figures, 315 buses, against the sanctioned strength of 517, ply on different routes carrying 1.5 lakh passengers on daily basis in the tri-city. There are around 100 routes covered by the CTU in the tricity, and the shortage of buses has led to reduction in frequency of buses on the designated routes on daily basis.
Last year, the union ministry of urban development had sanctioned 400 buses for Chandigarh under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
UT transport secretary Bhawna Garg said, “We are working on plans to help the CTU overcome losses.”