State government’s announcement of reviving State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) does not auger well with condition of corporation which besides being financial liability is also a rehabilitation centre of influential officers.
Not only this, insiders maintain that corporation is facing acute shortage of manpower at the administrative level which is affecting its smooth functioning. They added that several posts including the posts of Managing Director (MD) are lying vacant in the corporation and no serious effort has been so far made to fill these vacant positions.
Moreover, sources said that each SRTC official is holding charge of two to three wings and it is virtually impossible for them to do justice with their duties. They maintained that despite repeated requests of promoting junior inspectors as deputy managers and assistant works managers for addressing staff shortage issue, transport department has preferred carrying on with adhoc mechanism over making permanent arrangement.
Sources further disclosed that transport department preferred to keep recruitment process initiated for the appointment of Managing Director (MD) of SRTC in limbo just to serve the interests of certain blue eyed officials. They asserted that despite Comptrollers and Auditor General’s adverse remarks against the officials of SRTC, state government preferred to give charge of Managing Director (MD) to a blue eyed officer in place of making fresh appointment for the coveted post.
It needs to be mentioned here that a report has raised serious questions over administrative aptitude, leadership qualities, inspirational skills and ability to channelize available talent of the officers who manned this corporation since its inception in 1976. It has laid bare performance of state government, right from respective transport ministers to several IAS, KAS and other officers who headed this virtually defunct corporation since the last 44 years.
Summing up their performance in one sentence, the report has said that monitoring by corporation’s top management of key operational parameters and service standards was largely ineffective. After pointing towards accumulated loss of Rs.465.50 crore suffered by SRTC over the years, report says “there is immense scope for improving performance of the corporation.”
After this, it has made blunt statement on the ability of those manning the corporation presently. The report says “Present set-up of corporation does not seem to be equipped to handle this, while adding “Effective monitoring of key parameters coupled with certain policy measures can see improvement in the performance.”
Exhibiting loss of faith in the ability of government officers and disgusted with their technically inapt approach, report has called for devising a policy for tapping non-conventional sources of revenue by undertaking projects on public-private partnership basis for the construction of shopping complexes, malls hotels and offices at 21 different sites which are in the possession of corporation.
Going a step further, report has criticised fixation of fare by state transport authority and said that the revision does not take into consideration increase in other operational costs of the corporation. It has implored upon the government to create an independent regulatory body for SRTC which would be authorised to fix fares, specify operations on uneconomical routes and address grievances of commuters.
Report has recommended the corporation to take effective steps for strengthening management information system besides asking the board of directors to hold adequate number of meetings as per the requirement of the act. Report has further called for consolidating and analyzing monthly performance reports at the top level for taking corrective measures.
Report has recommended maintaining separate records of fuel consumption for buses, monitoring vehicle-wise and driver-wise data of fuel consumption and setting targets at depot levels for important operational parameters to exercise effective control over fuel expenditure