Central urban renewal mission boost for fleet-expansion plans of cash-strapped units in the state
With the Centre making fresh funds available under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for upgrading public transport in the city and its satellite cities,the ailing,cash-starved transport units are set to get a new lease of life.
Last week,the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) general manager,Uttam Khobragade,announced plans of buying 1,000 new buses using JNNURM funds,to add to its 3,800-strong fleet.
The transport units are fine-tuning their Detailed Project Reports (DPR) to be sent to the Centre. If the projects are sanctioned,they would get 50 per cent of the cost as grant and 50 per cent as loan.
This would make things easier,especially for smaller,cash-starved municipal corporations that have been unable to expand their fleet.
For instance,the Thane Municipal Transport (TMT),under the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC),is planning to buy 200 buses with the funds. The TMT has 288 buses of which 188 are in operation. Almost 196 are more than 10 years old and would have to be scrapped. We should send our requirement to the Centre by next week. With the new buses coming in,we hope to have better services, said TMC commissioner Nandkumar Jantre.
Similar is the case with the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT),the transport arm of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). We are also approaching the Centre for loans amounting to Rs 100 crore for buying 300 buses in three phases, said Shashi Damodaran,chairman,NMMT. The transport unit runs 365 buses on 78 routes and needs 300 more to increase connectivity with neighbouring satellite towns.
The JNNURM funds would also help smaller corporations,like the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC),which are planning to ply more buses but are waiting for the government nod to start services on new routes. Its transport arm runs 50 buses hired from a private player.
Some corporations have decided to use other routes to fund their fleet expansion. For example,the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT),the transport unit of the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC),has decided to rope in private parties.
Under this model,KDMT would allow private players to ply on their routes without KDMT having to make any investments on buses. It would be the job of the private player to maintain the buses. With this,we will get a royalty of over Rs 90,000 per day. To make this profitable for the private players,we will ask them run on inter-city routes, said Sanjay Gharat,deputy municipal commissioner.