Vijayawada: The inter-state agreement on sharing of routes by the RTCs of the two states continues to be a problem. A high-level meeting of the two transport ministers, higher officials of the department, and RTC officials of both states to resolve bifurcation issues concluded without a solution on Wednesday.
It was decided to hold executive director level talks later to find a way out of the logjam.The ministerial level talks were held for the first time nearly three years after bifurcation. Telangana transport minister Mahender Reddy took the lead and called his counterpart K. Atchennaidu, who responded by inviting Mr Reddy to Vijayawada.
The meeting focused on five major issues that have remained a problem for both states. After the formation of Telangana state, the TSRTC has not been able to ply its buses on par with APSRTC.
APSRTC used to ply its buses in TS on 3.37 lakh kilometres before TSRTC was formed. This has now come down to 2.3 lakh kilometres. The TSRTC plies on 1.2 lakh kilometres in Andhra Pradesh. To make the distance covered by the bus companies equal, the APSRTC has to reduce its services in TS, which would adversely affect its prospects.
The AP corporation is opposed to withdrawing its services at once as 84 per cent of its long distance services are to Hyderabad. The APSRTC is resisting the move both due to its financial inconvenience and problems to passengers.
APSRTC managing director M. Malakondaiah said that the decision to withdraw the services from AP should not be sudden as the services to Hyderabad from AP were based on passenger demand.
He wanted the withdrawal of services to take place over a period of time as Hyderabad still serves as the common capital for both the states. He said modalities must be worked out between the two states so as to accommodate TSRTC services in Andhra Pradesh with this having a minimum effect on APSRTC.
The size of the Problem
- APSRTC runs 720 services to Hyderabad and other places in TS
- TSRTC runs 490 services to various destinations in AP.
- APSRTC buses cover 2.3 lakh km of distance in TS whereas TSRTC buses cover 1.2 lakh km of distance in AP.
- An inter-state agreement on transport issues is likely to be signed in the next meeting to be held in Hyderabad.
- Executive directors and traffic inspectors of both RTCs are to hold continuous talks to work out modalities on RTC services.
States make a little headway
Though the RTC issue remained unresolved in talks between the TS and AP transport ministers, there was a breakthrough on various other issues. Both states have agreed to reduce tax on goods-carrying trucks, from Rs 48,000 to Rs 8,000 per quarter. Both ministers agreed to waive tax on school buses plying in border districts of both the states. School buses from Khammam district in TS come to Krishna district in AP, and buses from Mahbubnagar in TS ply to Kurnool district in AP. The AP government has agreed to waive the tax on school buses. There will no change in tax slabs for private tourist buses. The private buses of each state have to pay Rs 3,750 per seat per quarter to ply in the other state.