SRINAGAR: The once-flourishing State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) is dying a slow death. Officially, the fleet of vehicles (trucks and buses) it had in 1980 has been reduced to around half, the government’s allocation to the corporation has dwindled and most of the vehicles now in use are over aged.
According to government data available with Kashmir Reader, the SRTC now has only 964 vehicles (plus 41 more, which are under the process of auction) compared to around 1,600 in 1980. As of now, 631 vehicles with the corporation are over aged, with only 428 vehicles below ten years old. “Over the years, the fleet of vehicles has become over aged and operations are proving counterproductive for the corporation,” a senior SRTC official, on condition of anonymity, told Kashmir Reader.
The data also reveals that since 1990 the number of “condemned” vehicles is higher than the vehicles purchased by the SRTC. During these 25 years, 1,594 vehicles were “condemned” and only 1,039 new vehicles were purchased. And in the last 15 years, only 500 new vehicles were added to the fleet.
The data about allocation of funds to the SRTC by the state government shows that plan allocation has reduced. While it was Rs 7 crore in 2008-09, the allocation has come down to Rs 3.75 crore in 2014-15.
“From 2007-12, out of Rs 29 crore received from the government about Rs 10 crore was spent just on payment of pending salaries. The rest of the money was spent on maintenance of vehicles. The SRTC is reeling under a severe financial crunch for many years, so it does not have sufficient internal resources for replacement and acquisition of the fleet, and thus has to largely depend on funding from the government,” the official said.