State transport corporations will have to send the state government a detailed statement of earnings and expenditure every month before seeking subsidy for employees’ salary.
The directive issued by the Mamata Banerjee-led state government is aimed at recovering from a loss of over Rs 600 crore in the transport sector.
“The corporation bosses have been asked to submit monthly reports with details of earnings from operating buses and trams and also an outline of expenditure before asking for financial support from the government,” transport minister Madan Mitra told Metro.
“Over the years, the transport corporations had been sending inflated bills to the government to avoid footing the salary bills. There seems to have been no effort to become self-sufficient,” the minister said.
During the Left regime, the state government had accounted for 80 per cent of the salaries of transport corporations as subsidy to the loss-making bodies.
Soon after coming to power last year, the Trinamul government realised that one of the ways to bring down the losses was to get the five transport corporations to work to their full potential and emerge as self-financing bodies. The state now pays 75 per cent of the staff salaries of the transport corporations.
“The transport department pays around Rs 35-40 crore a month for salaries of employees of all the transport corporations,” said a senior transport department official. “The Calcutta State Transport Corporation and Calcutta Tramways Company account for Rs 20 crore per month. This needs to be scaled down immediately.”
With expenditure rising, the chief minister recently entrusted a group of ministers comprising Amit Mitra, Partha Chatterjee and others to look into ways to cut losses in the transport sector while improving services.
The ministers have proposed to follow the Metro smart card model. Each transport corporation would issue a smart card for all buses operated by it. “We have met the Webel bosses and asked them to work out a model for buses,” Mitra said. “This would do away with the problem of returning change.”