Finally, after a gap of five months, city buses will return on road in mid-January, but municipal corporation’s Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited (LCBSL) will get income as low as nearly Rs 125 per bus a day.
A private firm has been selected to operate all 105 city buses and it has offered to pay Rs 48 lakh per year to the LCBSL.
It has been learnt that the MC had generated a profit of Rs 1.62 crore during 2011-12 when these buses were being operated and maintained by it. It has also been learnt that the selected firm can get the ownership of these buses after nine years if it does not violate the conditions.
The LCBSL had recently floated e-tenders under the net cost contract (NCC) model for second time to invite new firms but only two firms placed bids. Horizon Connect Transways Private Limited (HCTPL) has placed the bids for all three clusters, while Kisan Transport placed bid for only one cluster.
HCTPL placed bid of Rs 13.55 lakh for the first cluster of 30 buses, while Kisan Transport placed a bid of R9.79 lakh per year. The LSBSL selected the highest bid for cluster 1.
Besides HCTPL, no other company had placed bid for 37 buses under cluster 2 and 38 buses under cluster 3. The bid for cluster 2 was for Rs 16.39 lakh per year, while the HCTPL placed bid of Rs 18.29 lakh per year for cluster 3.
The average income from all three clusters, comprising 105 city buses, will be Rs 48.23 lakh, which means that the LCBSL will get nearly Rs 125 from each bus a day.
LCBSL manager Baljeet Singh said, “We will soon give work orders to HCTPL. We are hopeful that the buses will be plying from mid-January.”
He said, “The contract will be renewed every year. If the selected firm does not violate any norm, the ownership of buses will be given to it after nine years. It will be the responsibility of the firm concerned to operate, maintain and hire staff for these buses.”
He said 46 buses would be plying in the first phase and others would ply after some time.
The city buses had come to a halt in July after Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd had refused to operate them as the LCBSL had failed to pay pending dues of around Rs 2.5 crore. According to sources, the MC was paying to this company on kilometre basis and it faced loses.
Independent councillor Parminder Singh Soma said, “It will get very low income after agreement with a new firm. I had suggested in the House meeting that the MC should allow unemployed youths to operate these buses which could provide more profit to the LCBSL.
The cost of 105 buses is around Rs 30 crore. It seems that the selected firm will pay around Rs 4.35 core in nine years and will get the ownership. The civic body will face loss only.”
Earlier, other councillors had also echoed the same concern.