Andhra, Telangana in tussle over restoration of inter-state bus services
The restoration of inter-state bus services between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has run into rough weather following a dispute between the transport authorities of both the states over the number of buses to be operated.
The discussions between the officials of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) to be held in Hyderabad on Wednesday were cancelled due to lack of understanding between the two corporations over operation of bus services.
Earlier, too, the talks between the two corporations held in Vijayawada on June 18 ended up in a deadlock. “There was an agreement between the two states to restore the RTC bus services between the two states in four phases. But the talks remained inconclusive due to a disagreement over the number of bus services to be operated,” a senior official of the TSRTC familiar with the development said.
The inter-state bus services were suspended in the last week of March following the imposition of nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Though the inter-state travel restrictions were lifted by Telangana in the first week of June, Andhra Pradesh is yet to open up its borders for Telangana and is allowing private travellers into the state only after conducting tests on the inter-state borders. The RTC bus services are being operated within the states, but the inter-state services have not yet been restored.
The RTC official said before the bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh state in June 2014, most of the buses were being operated from the depots in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to Telangana.
“While nearly 2,500-3,000 RTC buses were being operated from Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Kurnool and Anantapur to Hyderabad and a few other important cities in Telangana, less than 1,000 buses used to be operated from Telangana depots to Andhra and Rayalaseema,” he said.
The trend continued in the post-bifurcation period as well, as the APSRTC started making profits by continuing to run more buses to Telangana, while TSRTC ended up in losses. While APSRTC buses had been running for more than 3 lakh kilometres a day in Telangana till recently, the TSRTC buses had not operated even up to 1.50 lakh kilometres in AP.
“That is precisely why the TSRTC authorities are insisting on a level-playing field in the post-lockdown period. If APSRTC runs 100 buses in Telangana, the TSRTC also should be allowed to run the same number in Andhra, so that they can earn equal revenue. That is the main reason for deadlock in talks,” the Telangana RTC official said.
The talks are likely to resume in the first week of July, he added.