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PMPML's demerger hangs in the balance

The proposal was expected to be approved at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) General Body (GB) meet yesterday, as the Congress and all opposition parties were for the demerger. But, NCP leaders remained neutral and postponed the decision, giving rise to apprehensions. Commuters group claim the fiasco is a political stunt, which will not help improve the public transport in the city. 


Shift focus: Commuter groups say there is no guarantee that PMPML’s problems will be resolved after demerger. File Pic

Due to the heavy losses sustained by the PMPML, corporators of various parties collectively demanded PMPML’s demerger. “The merger between PMT and PCMT took place in 2007 to provide efficient service to commuters.

But the losses have been increasing every year and currently the PMPML is undergoing a serious crisis. Before the collaboration, the proportion of loss was 12 percent, which is very less when compared to existing deficit. After the pact, PMT had transferred all land and property to the newly formed company, but PCMT has not transferred their property. It means that the collaboration is only on paper. So it is better to demerge both the public transport companies of the municipal corporations,” saidAvinash Bagwe, Congress corporator who initiated the proposal.

PMP Pravasi Manch, a commuter group, has criticised the proposal, claiming it will not make any difference. “It does not matter how civic body reduces the losses of PMPML. Commuters want reliable and efficient service, which will help improve the overall transport system of the city.

There is no guarantee of solving all the problems of commuters after the demerger. Political parties have not explained how the service will improve after the demerger. The proposal is very vague,” said Jugal Rathi, president of PMP Pravasi Manch.

The PMPML was formed in 2007 after merging the PMT and PCMT to provide a unified transport system. Two months ago, BJP and Congress tabled the proposal to split the transport utility. It was presented in the GB last month. Corporators who have submitted a proposal to split the transport utility say the company has failed to rationalise routes and increase the fleet. The proposal states that the PMPML has become an additional burden to the PMC.

Madhuri Sahastrabuddhe, BJP corporator, said, “Poor public transport is the core reason for traffic congestion in the city. PMPML has been facing many problems like shortage of buses, infrastructure and lack of proper management. We support the demerger, as it will improve the public transport of the city.”

Prashant Jagtap, NCP corporator, also one of the directors of PMPML, said, “No public transport body in the country is making profits. It is a public service and rather than the profit, focus should be on providing better service. Currently, the PMPML is struggling to secure funds from the corporation and state government. Demerger cannot be the only solution for improving the existing service.”  

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