Rs 27 bn allocated to transport department, including Rs 7.99 bn as subsidy for free bus passes to students, senior citizens.
Business News : Looking to revive its debt-ridden public transport system, the Tamil Nadu government is in the process of converting the existing debt of Rs 30.01 billion into share capital assistance and replacing all old buses in use for more than 10 years with new ones. The state government, however, has not mentioned alternative fuels or hybrid buses in its Budget proposals for the year 2018-19.
In 2018-19, the state government shall infuse a share capital of Rs 6 billion into the State Transport Undertakings (STUs) for purchasing and inducting 3,000 new buses. This, along with the 2,000 new buses sanctioned during 2017-18, will lead to the replacement of all 4,593 old buses in use for over a decade.
The general price hike and increase in salary costs have adversely affected operations of the STUs. In 2017-18, the state government released Rs 25.19 billion as ‘special ways and means advance’ to STUs to tide over their severe financial stress, settle retirement benefits of pensioners, give pending dues to existing employees and compensation dues to victims of road accidents.
This was in addition to Rs 13.64 billion released as diesel subsidy, senior citizen subsidy, student concession subsidy and share capital assistance provided in the Budget Estimates 2017-2018.
As a one-time measure, the government is providing a ‘ways and means advance’ of Rs 9 billion in the current Budget to the STUs. An amount of Rs 27.17 billion has been allocated for the transport department, which includes Rs 7.99 billion as subsidy for free bus passes to students and senior citizens, said the government.