CSTC takes revival route

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By JAYANTA BASU
  • Published 20.07.07
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The Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), suffering an annual loss of Rs 100 crore, is planning a revival.

Improving fleet utilisation, tackling corruption and rationalising routes are the key target areas in the revamp package, which has been drafted following an internal study by the CSTC.

“The organisation is not exactly in the pink, prompting us to carry out the study,” said Ashok Bhattacharyya, the CSTC managing director.

The performance report of 2006-07 shows that the CSTC had incurred a loss of over Rs 20 a km, adding up to more than Rs 100 crore annually.

The primary report of the study has been submitted, though the final report will be readied after reviews conducted by senior CSTC officials.

“Based on the primary findings, we’ve identified the areas that require immediate attention,” said Bhattacharyya. “The fleet utilisation, less than 55 per cent in the last fiscal, has to improve drastically. And for that, we need to sell old and condemned vehicles.”

A vehicle is termed condemned if it runs over four lakh km or is more than eight years old.

Deputy director (operations) P.K. Bhar said 376 of the 1,143 buses that the CSTC owns will be sold. “The sale will not hamper our service. Rather, fleet utilisation will improve significantly.”

Reducing corruption in the ticketing system and fuel use is another area of concern. The organisation spends Rs 50 crore annually for purchasing fuel but there have been allegations that a section of employees is engaged in “overdeclaration” of the fuel consumed.

To stop the practice, the authorities are planning to set up “automated dispensing units” in all 11 depots, which will give accurate data on the amount of fuel drawn.

Also on the anvil is a Geographical Information System-based study on commuter density. The inputs will help the CSTC rationalise routes, leading to profitable deployment of buses.

“All these, however, are easier said than done, given the stand of the employees’ union,” said transport expert S.M. Ghosh.

The dominant union is controlled by Citu, the labour wing of the CPM.