PRTC approaches state government for ₹90 crore bailout package amid mounting lossesUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 02:23 IST
Struggling to get back on the track, the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has sought ₹90 crore bailout package from the Punjab government to compensate for the losses it incurred during and after the coronavirus-induced lockdown period.
The corporation had incurred losses to the tune of₹51 crore in the first 60 days of the complete lockdown, with daily loss pegged at₹85 lakh. But even after resuming its operations after relaxations in restrictions on May 18, the PRTC is finding it hard to meet its committed expenditure due to low occupancy.
Presently, the corporation is running 55% of its fleet of 1,125 buses and it recently resumed its inter-state bus services.
PRTC managing director Jaskiran Singh said, “We have written to the state government to provide financial aid on monthly basis till December to cope up with the pandemic losses. The daily income at present is₹70 lakh against₹1.40 crore before the lockdown in March,” he said.
Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, the convener of the PRTC trade unions, said since the losses are increasing with every passing month, the government must step in. “Besides expenditure on running buses, the PRTC needs at least₹19 crore a month to pay salaries and pensions to its employees. But with present income, the corporation is struggling to meet its committed expenditure,” he said.
PRTC chairman KK Sharma said they are hopeful of increasing daily revenue with the start of inter-state bus service. “We are trying to convey to people that they can board our buses without any fear of contracting infections as they are being sanitised on daily basis,” Sharma said.
Govt already owes corporation₹200 crore
The state government already owes the PRTC more than₹200 crore against the free and concessional facilities the corporation is providing, mainly to police personnel and students.
Nirmal Dhaliwal said the government has stalled the claims related to free and departmental concessional travelling for three years.
“Also,₹2 crore are due against the ‘Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra’ scheme. Moreover, the corporation has not been compensated for bringing back Punjab residents from Hazur Sahib, students from Rajasthan and ferrying migrant labourers to railway stations and elsewhere,” he said.