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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

KDMT privatisation plan: Civic chief to submit details

The civic body will then prepare a proposal of the number of drivers and conductors required by the transport body.

mumbai Updated: Sep 14, 2019 03:12 IST
In May 2018, KDMT had proposed to the state, asking permission to absorb the existing contract-based drivers and conductors into KDMT as staffers.
In May 2018, KDMT had proposed to the state, asking permission to absorb the existing contract-based drivers and conductors into KDMT as staffers.(HT image)
         

Privatisation of Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT) has come one step closer to reality.

The state government has written to Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), asking it to submit a report on the number of drivers and conductors employed by the KDMT.

The civic body will then prepare a proposal of the number of drivers and conductors required by the transport body.

In May 2018, KDMT had proposed to the state, asking permission to absorb the existing contract-based drivers and conductors into KDMT as staffers.

Based on the proposal, the Maharashtra government had decided to privatise KDMT based on GCC (gross cost contract). A GCC pays the operator a specified sum to provide service for a given period. Revenue collected is for the authority.

Following this, the under-secretary of Maharashtra wrote to KDMC commissioner Govind Bodke on August 30, asking him to submit a fresh proposal on privatisation.

KDMT general manager Maruti Khodke said, “ The notification was sent to the civic body chief. He will have to respond to the state. There is a need to hire more drivers and conductors to improve service.”

KDMC commissioner Bodke said they would follow the state’s directions.

Privatisation will ensure the job security of 526 permanent workers (drivers, conductors and other staffs) of KDMT and recruitment of more permanent staff members.

It will also ensure that all pending wages of the workers are cleared.

The civic transport body has been operating at a loss for almost a decade, with few buses plying on the streets.

It lacks manpower and infrastructure. Services have been badly affected as the buses are not on time and they break down frequently. Only a few KDMT buses ply on roads because they are poorly maintained.

“The KDMT buses which are plying are also not in good condition. They break down in the middle of the road. Sometimes the buses are late and the reason given is lack of manpower. There is a need to improve the civic transportation as people cannot afford the autorickshaws or cabs for small distance travel within the city,” said Rakesh Nair, 45, who takes a KDMT bus daily to travel from Kalyan to Dombivli.

In addition to the poor maintenance of the buses, there have been protests by KDMT workers over the delay in payment of their salaries.

On Monday, at least 50 buses of KDMT did not move out of the Ganesh Ghat depot, after the depot gate was locked by the workers’ union. The workers (drivers and conductors) union of KDMT protested against the civic body for not meeting its demands related to payment of salaries.

Earlier this year, KDMT appointed a private agency to take up repair works of 138 buses. It had planned to run at least 100 to 125 buses from the first week of April. However, not many buses were added to the service.

By increasing the number of buses it operates, the transport body had aimed to increase its daily revenue to up to ₹10 lakh from the current ₹4 lakh it earns every day.

With privatisation, the department also plans to appoint an agency to look after providing manpower to ply the buses, develop the infrastructure required for the buses, introduce new routes, improve income and provide better facilities to commuters.