Minister wants subsidised diesel for State RTCs

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RAMALINGABangalore, June 30;Transport Minister R. Ramalinga Reddy will present a memorandum to Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily on Sunday over diesel supply to State road transport corporations (RTCs).

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, Mr. Reddy said after the Petroleum Ministry increased the diesel price for bulk consumers, including RTCs by over Rs. 11 a litre, corporations were being forced to send buses to retail outlets for refill. If the Union government abolished this differential treatment and offered diesel at subsidised rates to RTCs, bus fare hikes could be minimised, he said.

There was also a demand to reduce the State government cess on diesel, Mr. Reddy said.

Owing to the cess, diesel was being sold at a higher rate in Karnataka. Many lorry owners preferred to top up their tanks outside Karnataka and because of this the State was losing revenue. He said a delegation of transporters had met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking reduction in the cess on diesel.

The Minister said an additional Rs. 50 crore would be released for improving facilities on trunk bus routes, including Chennai and Mangalore. Managing directors of RTCs had been asked to maintain cleanliness at bus-stands and their surroundings.

Mr. Reddy said the State Government was purchasing 1,528 and 1,007 buses for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation respectively. Of the 1,007, 150 would be feeder buses, which are six ft shorter, for plying on narrow roads in residential areas of the city, said the Minister, speaking to presspersons here on Saturday. The buses would be acquired with financial assistance under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and loans.

Of the 1,529 buses proposed to be bought for the KSRTC, he said 236 would be for rural areas, while some would be Rajahamsa and multi-axle variety.

Kalasipalyam bus-stand

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) handed over the Kalasipalyam bus-stand land to the BMTC four months ago and a four-storeyed modern bus-stand would be built there at a cost of Rs. 240 crore.

Private as well as BMTC and KSRTC buses would be allowed to operate from this bus-stand, while one floor of the complex would be reserved for shops. The government would ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to build a skywalk between this bus-stand and underground metro station at K.R. Market for unhindered passenger movement.

Mr. Reddy, also in charge of the city, said BBMP had submitted a memorandum on this to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking Rs. 4,000 crore special grants for taking up urgent works and infrastructure development.

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