It’s a steal, that’s what employees of the Rajasthan State Roadways Transport Corporation call the state government’s offer of Rs 200 crore in return for taking over the corporation prime land in two Jaipur depots.
The employees allege the government move to buy 21,500 sq m of land in Jaipur and Vaishali Nagar depots from the cash-strapped transport corporation is an attempt to grab prime land by offering crumbs.
The transport corporation, which faces a cumulative loss of Rs 2,300 crore, is eager to lap up the money.
The corporation earns revenue of Rs 150 crore per month while its expense is Rs 200 crore. It has 22,000 employees on the payroll and 7,500 retired employees. In the past few months, salaries and pensions have been delayed due to cash crunch.
The corporation’s chairman & managing director Bhaskar Sawant said the sale would bring in much-need cash. “The corporation will make a plan for the proposed sale and send it to the Transport Department. However this is a one-time measure as we need a dose of liquidity.”
Sawant said the corporation had a long-term survival plan to make the corporation self-sustained by 2019. “Till then we need hand-holding.”
But employees’ unions aren’t buying the argument.
Varun Tiwari, the state general secretary of the Rajasthan Parivahan Nigam Sanyukt Karamchari Federation, said the move to sell land was a conspiracy.
“The RSRTC depots in Sanganer and Vidyadhar Nagar have been leased out at nominal rates by the government. Another land of the RSRTC at Jawahar Nagar is lying vacant and being encroached upon. If they have to sell land, why don’t they sell these? Why sell land at prime locations?” said Tiwari.
He alleged the government was trying to acquire prime land that it could later sell at exorbitant rates.
It is a tough time for the corporation as even the government budgetary support of Rs 360 crore is stuck on a clause. The budget money will come only when Bus Port Corporation, a body that will herald privatisation, is set up, and a total of 94 bus stands of the transport corporation are transferred to the new corporation. However, setting up of the corporation has been delayed over employees’ opposition to privatisation.
The employee union alleges the government plans to gradually sell land of 94 bus stands.
Raj Bihari Sharma, the all-India vice president of the Bharatiya Parivahan Mazdoor Mahasangh, said: “The RSRTC estimates they will earn Rs 200 crore by sale of the two Jaipur depots. Slowly they will sell land of all the 94 bus stands at low rates.”
Sharma said the government would not allow the corporation to start commercial activities on the bus stands to earn non-operating revenue but wanted to hand it over to private player at low rates.