Punjab govt owes Rs 79 crore to PRTC for freebies over 4 years | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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Punjab govt owes Rs 79 crore to PRTC for freebies over 4 years

The PRTC needs the money to get a little order in its finances as otherwise against a monthly income of Rs 39 crore, its total expenditure is Rs 47 crore.

punjab Updated: Jul 28, 2017 20:31 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
PRTC managing director Manjit Singh Narang said, “We have written to the departments concerned to pay their pending dues in instalments.
PRTC managing director Manjit Singh Narang said, “We have written to the departments concerned to pay their pending dues in instalments.(HT File Photo)

Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), the state-run fund-starved utility that is struggling to pay monthly pensions and meet its expenses, could meet a part of its liabilities at least, if the state government releases Rs 79 crore it owes to it for free travel of its staff and other concessional claims that it has run up over the past four years.

The figure had ballooned to Rs 97 crore in June as the previous SAD-BJP government did not pay a single penny under this head in the last years of its rule. Earlier this month, the new Congress government released Rs 18 crore, bringing the figure down to Rs 79 crore. Under the rules, the state government provides free and concessional travel facilities in PRTC buses to 18 categories of beneficiaries. Police personnel and students are among the major beneficiaries of this facility.

“If the government releases the departmental claims on time, pensions can be released every month,” said Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, secretary general of the All-India Trade Union Council. Dhaliwal said the government must clear pending bills in a single payment at the earliest.

PRTC managing director Manjit Singh Narang said, “We have written to the departments concerned to pay their pending dues in instalments. We have also written to the finance department.”

PRTC deficit at Rs 8 cr a month

The PRTC needs the money to get a little order in its finances as otherwise against a monthly income of Rs 39 crore, its total expenditure is Rs 47 crore. It pays Rs 9 crore in monthly salaries and has a Rs 6.9 crore pension payout a month.

Previous govt did not clear Rs 1.75 cr for Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra

Another set of dues that government has to clear is Rs 1.75 crore bill that the previous SAD-BJP regime ran up for using PRTC buses for its much-hyped Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra scheme. Under the scheme, launched six months before the assembly elections, PRTC buses were used to ferry people to pilgrimage spots across the state for free.

The scheme was shut before the imposition of the model code of conduct and was later scrapped by the incumbent Congress government in its first cabinet meeting. Besides ferrying people, the PRTC also bore the cost of accommodation and food for the pilgrims and had submitted claims worth Rs 4.35 crore to the state government, which paid only Rs 2.6 crore in instalments, pegging the pending dues at Rs 1.75 crore.