Nagpur: Nagpur Division of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has suffered a loss of around Rs 85 crore as the buses have not been in operation owing to lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic during the past four-and-a-half months. MSRTC suspended bus operations of a fleet of 450 buses from March 22. On an average, the buses cover a distance of 50 lakh km in a month while the monthly revenue of the corporation is Rs 18.50 crore.
Average income of the corporation is Rs 36 per km while the expenditure per km is Rs 43, which means a loss of Rs seven. MSRTC buses cannot be operated from Nagpur as it is a ‘red zone’ like in Akola and Amravati districts. Buses can be operated from tehsil to tehsil from Katol to Saoner or Umrer. The corporation started services on such routes but suspended services due to poor response from the passengers owing to COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, there are restrictions on inter-state and inter-district operations. The bus services would begin after receiving instructions till August 31.
Nilesh Belsare, Divisional Controller, MSRTC, Nagpur Region, told ‘The Hitavada’ that MSRTC had started some activities during lockdown period such as transporting migrant labourers to nearby States from May 9 to 31, free of cost. The buses made 1,762 trips and transported around 40,000 people to the boundaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh during this period. The Government allotted Rs three crore as compensation for this, he said. MSRTC also launched ‘Vande Bharat’ scheme and operated six buses to Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nanded, and Bhopal to carry passengers alighting at Nagpur airport on payment basis, thus earning Rs 6 lakh.
Adhering to social distancing rule, the corporation allowed only 50% passengers in a bus, say, 22 passengers. Belsare pointed out that the Government had issued a circular on May 19 for using some buses as goods carriers by removing seats and fixing door at the rear side. One division prepared 10 such goods carriers. There were total 310 buses in 31 divisions in Maharashtra. One bus can carry 10 tonnes of goods per trip. MSRTC people met entrepreneurs in MIDC areas, businessmen and traders requesting them to send their materials through ST carriers.
The response was good and MSRTC, Nagpur region, earned Rs five crore from May 21 to August 5 by way of transporting goods to different places. He hoped that out of a total of 17,000 MSRTC buses, around 3,000 would be converted into goods carriers in the future. Now, the tendency of the people is to avoid travel or going one/two persons in emergency owing to novel coronavirus pandemic, he pointed out. Meanwhile, MSRTC made 50 per cent payments to officers and 75 per cent to employees in March. In April, it paid full salary, followed by 50 per cent to all in May. There have been no payments in June and July so far. There are total 2,800 officers and employees in this region.