With the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Standing committee passing a proposal of Rs 6 crore to purchase 10 air-conditioned (AC) buses, out which four will be provided for IT employees on contractual basis and the remaining for sightseeing tours, the decision has once again brought to the fore the low priority given by the civic body to the public transport system in the city.
Despite the commitment of two per cent budgetary provision by the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the PMC has not made the provision of a single rupee for the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) in this year’s civic budget too. The neglect has exposed the state of affairs at the PMPML, which is facing heavy losses due to the civic body’s disregard.
PMPML needs around 46,000 litres fuel to ply its buses daily and in the last three months diesel prices have seen a hike of Rs 15 rupees per litre, which means PMPML is losing Rs 7 lakh day after day. Data provided by PMPML revealed that on Jan 1, 2013, the total expenditure for diesel was Rs 24 lakh per day, and diesel was priced at Rs 52.10 per litre. On January 18, diesel prices were increased by Rs 12.03, which was a set back for PMPML. A price rise of Rs 2 and Rs 1.27 was again imposed in February and March respectively. Based on that the current daily expenditure of PMPML is Rs 31 lakh.
Out of 1,851 PMPML buses, 273 are hired on a contract basis. The five-year contract of these buses will end this month and PMPML would not be able to renew the contract due to financial constraints. So the numbers of the buses will reduce which will affect overall revenue and frequency.
Although, the PMPML has initiated steps to generate revenue by demanding 3.5 Floor Space Index (FSI) for space at its depots, the approval is stuck in bureaucratic process. “If the FSI is granted, PMPML can construct a commercial complex on BOT basis at its depot. It can be a good source of income. Many public transport bodies across different cities are already using depot space for revenue generation. The state has sanctioned FSI of 3.2, but it is stuck in the PMC,” said Prashant Jagtap, PMPML committee chairman.
“PMPML needs urgent funding for survival. Every civic department is allocated a fixed budget every year except PMPML. We have demanded Rs 100 cr to overcome losses. More than 20 lakh people, especially from the middle class, are dependent on the public transport and it is the responsibility of the PMC to provide regular and adequate funds. We have asked the Standing Committee to make available funds, and at last month’s meeting with Dy CM Ajit Pawar, we also demanded VAT rebate on diesel price,” Jagtap added.
Expressing the need to improve its fleet efficiency by proper maintenance of buses, MPML spokesperson Deepaksingh Pardeshi said, “The rate of spare parts has increased by 15 per cent after the hike of diesel prices. Expenditure is increasing daily and both the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation is not providing any financial assistance. In this crisis situation, they are ready to spend crores of rupees for AC buses but they are not providing any grant or financial assistance to help the city’s public transport survive.”
1,851 total number of PMPML buses
Rs 31 Lakh
Daily Diesel expenditure
Rs 1.05 Crore
Average DAily ticket revenue
Litres Daily diesel usage