The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Private call for transport

Agartala, Oct. 25: Tripura’s Left Front has decided to minimise drainage of its resources by partially privatising its Road Transport Corporation, which has been suffering from losses.

Bids for hiring routes for running buses so far used by the TRTC have already been floated.

Initial bids have been invited for routes in and around Agartala town for which TRTC will also rent out its fleet of 11 newly purchased CNG buses.

Gradually, more routes will be given to private transporters against annual contract payments.

A TRTC official said the corporation has been suffering since 1990. “By doing this, we are exercising our last option as all efforts to reduce our mounting losses have failed because of trade unionism, mismanagement and rampant corruption,” he said.

The official said corruption was one of the main reasons for the corporation’s downfall. He added that one trade union leader had embezzled Rs 11 lakh from TRTC’s counter for sale of air tickets while another clerk had embezzled over Rs 5 lakh.

He added that when the corporation had been launched in 1973 the number of employees was 1,250 but now the number has has come down to a measly 619 including drivers. Besides, the corporation previously used to ply regular bus services on 86 routes but now only 20 routes are operational.

The number of buses has also come down from 125 to 39.

“TRTC illustrates how a profit-making concern can be destroyed by corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement,” he said.

The source said the corporation has become a rehabilitation centre for MLA’s of the ruling front deprived of a berth in the ministry.

“An MLA invariably has to be the chairman of the corporation whether he knows anything about transport business or not and because of political pressure and interference, no managing director can work beyond the period of six months,” he said, adding that the incumbent managing director, Abhinay Halam, is also on firing line and may be transferred soon.

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