Representative Image | Mathrubhumi
Kollam: COVID induced lockdown in the state has turned 2,885 KSRTC buses into mere scrap. Among these buses, some were purchased 7 years back. As per the present market rate, public property worth Rs 700 cr is in ruins at KSRTC depots.
During the first lockdown, KSRTC staff had taken efforts to protect the buses by riding it inside depots itself. But with the second lockdown, neither the KSRTC management nor the staff was interested in maintaining the buses in proper condition.
On April 15, an order was issued to shift the excess buses to parking spaces. Following this, buses were taken to KSRTC’s parking units and workshops at Edappal, Chadayamangalam, Chathannur, Parassala, Kayamkulam, Inchakkal (TVM), Cherthala, Karikkamuri (Ernakulam) and Chittur. All tyres of the buses were removed and dummy tyres installed before dumping the buses. The fuel tank was also made empty and batteries were removed.
Interestingly, the buses were taken from Kozhikode to Chathannur covering a distance of 324 kilometres.
When buses were dumped in this manner, KSRTC depleted lakhs of money allotted for fuel expenditure. A huge amount of manpower was needed to replace the tyres and battery. KSRTC authority had directed the staff not to remove other parts of the bus. But the recent inspections confirmed that other parts of the buses too were removed.
Ahead of school reopening, KSRTC unit officers from Neyyattinkara and Poovar pointed out the bad condition of buses.
“Among the five buses allotted, 3 had dummy tyres. Horn and rear view mirrors were also found missing. In some buses, seats were removed. Buses look dirty as algae had spread inside and outside,” complained Neyyattinkara unit officer while attending a high-level meeting ahead of school reopening.
As the government announced more relaxations in the COVID restrictions, KSRTC buses dumped in the parking centres are likely to get shifted to the district common pool. But buses which turned scraps within this period were shifted using earthmovers. Out of the 6185 buses, only 3400 are being used by KSRTC. As the buses are under decay, KSRTC’s daily revenue dropped to Rs 3.5 cr. Before the COVID period, KSRTC earned an average revenue of Rs 6.5 cr per day.