While the transport body has decided to pay a whopping sum to acquire 500 diesel buses under a hire purchase scheme, some activists and experts say PMPML should consider fixing and running the vehicles it already has in its possession
At a time of financial adversity, the administration of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) has planned to procure 500 diesel buses under a hire purchase scheme.
As part of this method, buses will be obtained from the successful bidder through tender, and in the next seven years payment would be made through 84 instalments to that company.
''We already have CNG buses, but there is need for more vehicles to fulfil commuters' demands. So, we are going to pick up more buses through this new scheme. It’s just like someone purchasing a vehicle on loan from a company, and paying the money in parts,” said PMPML chairman and managing director Ramchandra Joshi.
“As we do not have funds to purchase buses outright, we have opted for this system. Initially, the capital investment of purchasing these 500 buses will be done by the company selected from the tender process, which will be completed till January 31. If everything goes well, these buses will be added to our fleet by the end of May,” he maintained. Cost of each diesel bus, which PMPML is looking at, is around Rs 30 lakh. So, for 500 buses, the project cost comes to around Rs 150 crore.
''We have given our standard specifications for these buses, and accordingly tenders have been called for. After the proposed hike of Rs 18 for CNG comes into effect, the rates of CNG and diesel will be pretty similar, at around Rs 60 to Rs 65 per kg/litre. Also, our workers are better trained for the maintenance of diesel buses, compared to CNG ones,” said PMPML chief engineer Sunil Burse.
Rs 30 lakh
Cost of each new diesel bus
'Not a sound plan'
Speaking about this project, PMP Pravashi Manch convenor Vivek Velankar (in pic) told MiD DAY, “There is need for getting more buses into fleet, but not through such big investments, especially when PMPML is in a poor financial state.
So, buses that are standing in depots should be repaired and brought on to the roads. PMPML administration is putting this extra financial burden over itself at a bad time.”