Public transport in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region may soon be the domain of the private sector with the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) having commenced the process of privatising the transport service in the satellite city.
The undertaking of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to offer a contract for maintenance and repair of its CNG-run buses to a private company. In addition, it is toying with the idea of hiring 50 buses from a private player.
Talks of privatising NMMT have been doing the rounds for the past few years, but NMMC officials have remained tightlipped about it so far. However, sources have revealed that the undertaking is finally in the process of making these decisions and implementing them.
NMMT has reportedly suffered huge losses since its inception. NMMT, which has an annual turnover of Rs 80-95 crore, has incurred losses of
Rs 22 crore in the past three years, and received financial aid worth Rs 10.84 crore from JNNURM in 2011.
NMMT has two depots with machinery and manpower for the maintenance of the 336 buses in its fleet.
In spite of this, it is set to award a contract for maintenance of its 120 CNG buses to a private player, on grounds that it does not have machinery advanced enough or manpower with sufficient expertise for the maintenance of these buses.
G C Mangle, general manger of NMMT, said, “We have been facing a huge problem over maintenance of CNG buses, as these buses break down regularly and we do not have required expertise and advanced machinery. So we have decided to contract a private company for the maintenance of these buses, which requires advanced expertise and machinery.”
NMMT incurs expenses of around Rs 1.5 crore for the maintenance of 120 CNG buses per year.
Once the upkeep of these buses is handed over to the private company, the expense for the same will shoot up to Rs 5 crore per year.
“We will pay Rs 2.5 per km to the private company for maintenance of 120 CNG buses, so we expect to pay around Rs 25 lakh to the private company per month — Rs 3 crore per year.
In addition, we are expected to provide spare parts worth around Rs 1 to 2 crore to the private company for maintenance. So, we will have to bear extra expenses of around Rs 3 crore per year,” said a senior official of NMMT, who requested anonymity.
NMMT is also planning to hire 50 buses from a private company in Russia. The company will reserve exclusive advertising rights on the NMMT buses and bus shelters in Navi Mumbai. NMMT has been struggling to purchase 50 diesel buses under JNNURM funds for the past one year.
“We are planning to hire 50 buses from a Russian company. In return, the company will get rights of advertisement in NMMT buses and bus shelters. However, we have not finalised it and the decision will be taken in next transport committee meeting,” said Mangle.
Sources at NMMT confirmed that all segments of the public transport service would be privatised over the next few years.