With the steep rise in diesel prices, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), which is struggling to cope with compounding losses, announced on Friday that it will be converting its diesel-run fleet of 18,500 buses to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
The conversation of buses will be followed with measures like route rationalisation, commercial exploitation of its land and increasing its freight movement to make its operations across the state viable.
These measures that MSRTC is set to adopt to bring down its losses were decided upon following a meeting between state Transport Minister Anil Parab, Minister of State for Transport Satej Patil and MSRTC Managing Director Shekhar Channe on Friday.
In the first phase, MSRTC will convert 1,200 diesel-operated buses to run on LNG. The decision was taken after the corporation spent about 34 per cent of its revenue as fuel cost for its fleet of 18,500 buses. Besides, MSRTC, which has ventured into goods transportation from May 21, will actively work on expanding its reach and network. A directive will be sent out to all government departments to use MSRTC services for any freight transportation within the state.
Within a month, MSRTC goods buses and trucks have made about 1,907 trips, earning them a revenue of Rs 72 lakh. The corporation plans to expand its service to achieve a target of Rs 250 crore by December 2021.
In the meeting, Parab also urged officials to look for commercial exploitation of MSRTC depots to generate revenue. Further, MSRTC will open its repair workshops for private buses.
The unions, meanwhile, have urged the MSRTC management to consider offering a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees to bring down cost.
In a letter submitted to Parab, Shrirang Barge of Maharashtra ST Karmachari Congress has urged that nearly 75,000 employees above 55 years of age be allowed to opt for voluntary retirement.
This, according to Barge, will help the corporation save about Rs 170 crore that it spends on their salaries. “If given a lucrative plan, many elderly employees will opt for the scheme,” he said.
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