PRTC demands to merge it with Punjab Roadways

  • Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2014 11:23 IST

The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), which has been reeling under financial crisis, has floated a fresh proposal to the Punjab government, demanding to merge it with the Punjab Roadways for better functioning.

The management has also written to the state government to immediately provide Rs 40 crore to settle pensions of its retired employees.

However, the state government is yet to take any decision as it had held important meeting with the PRTC management on Tuesday.

Sources in the PRTC said they had no option but to propose merger proposal as they had not been getting any financial help from the state government.

"With its merger with the Punjab Roadways, which is run by state government, the process of issuing of salaries and pensions will be streamlined and the same will be given from the state's finance department", a source said.

PRTC's services have been off the road for the past 15 years as it has not been able to pay salaries and pensions to its employees.

Currently, the defaulting transport body owes over Rs 120 crore to its retired employees. Moreover, severe financial crisis can be gauged from the fact that it has not paid salaries and pensions to its employees for past two to four months.

PRTC was set up on October 16, 1956, with a view to providing efficient, adequate, economic and properly coordinated operation system of road transport services in the state.

Confirming about merger proposal, PRTC chairman Avtar Singh Brar said they were persuading the state government authorities to dismantle the corporation and merge it with the state-run transport body.

"We have made merger proposal in which details regarding assets and liabilities are included. Besides, an immediate grant of Rs 40 crore has also been sought," Brar said.

Brar said: "We have told the government that the PRTC owned overall property of Rs 1,400 crore and merging it with the Punjab Roadways will prove profitable for the government."

When contacted Anurag Aggarwal, secretary to transport department, said: "The government is considering the proposal and something will happen in the coming days."

Court already toughens its stand

The Punjab and Haryana high court has already asked the PRTC to submit the details of its properties. Moreover, the court had also attached the salaries of the PRTC's managing director, chairman and general managers posted at all depots on May 7. The court is yet to revoke its decision.

According to information, PRTC is the only corporation in the state which has been facing around 100 cases of contempt for not paying their mandatory dues to its employees despite repeated orders of the court.

Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) state secretary, said the government would not merge the PRTC with the Punjab Roadways as it was focusing on privatisation of public departments.

"Moreover, it won't put extra burden on its exchequer, which is already starving for funds," he said.

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