PUNE: Despite having incurred losses to the tune of Rs4,000 crores since last year when its employees were on strike for nearly six months, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) may now be on track to becoming a profitable public utility this year. Reason being the losses incurred by the organisation have come down to an average of Rs10 crores in May 2023 as compared to last year.
Last year under the former Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, MSRTC employees were on strike for almost six months after which it came to light that the utility had incurred losses to the tune of Rs4,000 crores. This sparked speculation about whether or not it would be able to turn profitable once again.
A senior MSRTC official on condition of anonymity said, “When Ajit Pawar was the finance minister, the government had agreed to pay Rs300 crores per month. But as the amount was not received in time, the losses kept increasing day by day. This year however as compared to the previous year, the losses in May have come down to Rs10 crores.”
“The organisation really needed help from the state government to cut its losses that kept increasing day by day. In the meantime, citizens were increasingly inclined to travel by private vehicles rather than state transport (ST) buses. However, the incumbent Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government that came to power took two important decisions and the organisation has benefitted from the same,” the official said.
The MSRTC is getting a lot of support due to the reimbursement of travel fees and the financial assistance received in the scheme/s announced by the state government. Shekhar Channe, vice-president and general manager, MSRTC, said, “The MSRTC has given 50% discount on tickets to senior citizens and 100% discount to citizens who have completed 75 years of age. While women have been directly given 50% discount on ST fare which increased our ridership.”
“Eighteen out of the 31 state divisions of the organisation are currently benefitting. In this, Beed is at first position, Parbhani at second position, and Jalgaon at third position. In the month of May, benefits to the tune of Rs3.5 crores accrued to the Beed division, Rs3 crores to the Parbhani division, and Rs2 crores and 90 lakhs to the Jalgaon division. State transport officials believe that this amount will increase further next month,” Channe said.