Mumbai, (The Hindu): State Minister for Finance and Planning Sudhir Mungantiwar on Sunday said the government is looking at ways to reduce financial burden on the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), brought about by rise in fuel prices.
He said, “There won’t be need for a fare hike; we’re exploring options to provide subsidies on diesel for State Transport buses. The finance ministry is fully backing the transport ministry on this.”
State Minister for Transport Diwakar Raote had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on May 28, asking for a waiver on fuel taxes for the transport utility. He had predicted that the rising cost of fuel will add over 400 crore to MSRTC’s expenses. According to MSRTC officials, the organisation is reeling under accumulated losses of 2,300 crore.
Officials said despite consistent rise in fuel prices over the past six months, MSRTC hasn’t raised fares keeping its passengers in mind. This was done to avoid inconveniencing people during the summer, when many use its services to visit their hometowns. Mr. Raote had proposed hiking fares by 30% last week.
According to him, fuel costs and the proposed wage revision announced on Friday left MSRTC with no choice but to increase fares. The wage hike will impact nearly one lakh employees and add 4,849 crore in expenses over the next four years. Mr. Raote said the wage revision will also add 176 crore to its annual losses. As per the proposed revision, permanent employees will be given increments between 20% and 32%, while those falling in lower pay grades will get hikes between 16% and 48%.
MSRTC officials said diesel prices were 58.02 per litre in May 2017, but have increased to an average of 68.39 per litre across the State. The transport utility, which operates around 17,000 buses across the State, had last hiked fares in 2014.
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