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TN throws bus routes open

Chennai, Nov. 28: The Tamil Nadu government plans to discard roughly half the number of state buses and cut their trips in each district to make room for private players.

The announcement has jolted the 1.24 lakh employees with 18 state transport undertakings. The move, part of the second package of reforms, has come just when the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority added another feather to its cap by commissioning Asia’s largest bus station at Koyambedu here, costing Rs 303 crore.

The irony of a prestigious state-funded project going hand in hand with a privatisation programme became evident after the Jayalalithaa government brought out a gazette notification detailing the “Proposed Modified Scheme” of road transport service in each district.

The proposals have been thrown open to a public hearing. The scheme will be finalised after the hearing at the secretariat on December 17.

However, the notification is couched in legal niceties and is nowhere explicit about the government’s plans.

According to official figures, the transport undertakings have cumulatively posted a profit of Rs 73.66 crore. “Then why privatise them'” asked DMK chief M. Karunanidhi.

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