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HYDERABAD : The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) hiked its fares by 0.20 paisa in an effort to decrease its daily operational losses, due to which it has been debt-ridden for many years. The fare increase came into effect from Tuesday, eight days after 48,000 plus TSRTC employees got back to work after a 52-day strike in October-November.

A senior TSRTC official, who did not want to be quoted, said that the latest fare hike of 20 paise per kilometre will help mitigate the TSRTC’s daily operational loss of 2 crore by about 50%. “The remaining loss will have to be dealt with internally by revenue maximisation and efficiency," he added.

The TSTRC employees had gone on strike from 5 October to 25 November as the unions had taken the decision to do so by putting forth 26 demands to the state government, with the primary one to merge the TSRTC with the government. Chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had then outrightly rejected that demand.

On a daily basis, the TSRTC makes about 11 crore (including its operational loss of 2 crore), a majority of which (about 35%) is spent on diesel. With the new fare hike, the state-run bus corporation is hoping to also recover the roughly 250 crore that it lost due to the 52-day strike by the employees, who have also received their salaries for the time they were not working.

More interestingly, Rao, who had announced earlier that he would give 5,100 private vehicles permits to operate on TSRTC routes (during the strike period, in November), has changed his stance on the matter completely. He met several TSRTC employees at his camp office on 1 December, also announced that not a single private vehicle will be allowed to operate on TSRTC routes, among other employee-friendly measures.

The TSRTC has 97 depots and operates a fleet of 10,400 buses in Telangana, which serves as the lifeline of daily and district commuting for lakhs of passengers everyday. Commuting had been severely hit and passengers faced a lot of trouble from 5 October to 25 November when the TSRTC employees went on strike. It had also forced the state government to hire temporary drivers and conductors.

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