Punjab Government yet to pay Rs 187 cr to PRTC for free travel facility to women : The Tribune India

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Punjab Government yet to pay Rs 187 cr to PRTC for free travel facility to women

Scheme causing loss of Rs 1 cr daily | Corpn struggling to pay salaries, pensions

Punjab Government yet to pay Rs 187 cr to PRTC for free travel facility to women

The scheme of free travel for women, started by the previous Congress government, is causing a loss of Rs 1 crore daily for the state-run Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC).



Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, December 14

The scheme of free travel for women, started by the previous Congress government, is causing a loss of Rs 1 crore daily for the state-run Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC). Following delays in clearing these dues on time, the PRTC is struggling to carry out expansion and release salaries and pensions on time.

As per estimates, the PRTC is still awaiting Rs 187 crore from the Punjab Government in lieu of this free travel scheme. From around Rs 100 crore pending in June, the amount has now crossed Rs 187 crore. The government had last month released Rs 50 crore to the PRTC for the disbursal of salaries and pensions.

It is learnt that the government has failed to reimburse Rs 187 crore related to the scheme to the PRTC. Consequently, the PRTC finds itself in a tight spot while paying salaries to its staff, leave aside buying new buses or carrying other public welfare schemes.

Interestingly, the free travel for women in PRTC buses is also causing losses to the private transporters who have lost on women passengers who prefer government buses to avail this scheme. “We allow women for free or on half ticket to ensure that the men accompanying them use our services,” said a private bus operator.

Of the total daily income of Rs 2.15 crore, the PRTC earns around Rs 1 crore from women passengers and after the free travel was allowed to women passengers, the government has failed to clear the dues.

“Thousands of PRTC employees are suffering due to the scheme as we don’t get our salaries in time. The reimbursement for the free women travel facility had been irregular since the new government was formed. Though initially the government had promised to release pending dues every 15 days, but now, money is released after months,” said convener, PRTC workers’ union, Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal.

Sources say that recently, a delegation met the Finance Minister and it was said that the government might discontinue or restrict this scheme to weekends. There is no allocated budget for this scheme and it is only causing losses, they said.

PRTC managing director Vipul Ujjwal said he had already written to the Secretary, Transport, to take up the matter with the Finance Department for the release of funds to meet the expenses. “Roughly, the free travel costs around Rs 35 crore a month now and we have urged the government to release around Rs 100 crore so that we are able to meet expenses for the next three months,” he said.

Daily income Rs 2.15 cr

  • Officials said following the delay in the release of funds against the free travel scheme, the PRTC was finding it tough to clear salaries and pensions
  • The monthly expenditure on salary and pensions is Rs 27 cr. Daily income is around Rs 2.15 cr from 1,225 buses, out of which roughly Rs 85L-Rs 90L is spent on fuel

Written to secy

I have written to the Secretary, Transport for the release of funds. We have urged for the release of Rs 100 cr so that expenses can be met for 3 months. Vipul Ujjwal, MD, PRTC

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