A necessary evil!

A necessary evil!

A necessary evil!, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, APSRTC. The buses bought under JNNURM phase-I developed snags after just three years.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) is an initiative, where both Centre and State governments contribute for projects in urban cities. Under phase-I, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) procured 1,476 buses. However, the corporation informed that 60% of those buses developed mechanical defects in just three years. Now, the APSRTC is all set to receive 737 buses under phase-II of the JnNURM. These buses will have low floors for the easy boarding and disembarking of passengers. But the disadvantage is that those buses are hardly cost-effective as it consumes more fuel and has high maintenance cost compared to an ordinary RTC bus

Low floor buses, ideal for the disabled and elderly, were mooted long back which finally took shape in the form of a project under the JnNURM. Apart from low floors, the buses under the phase-II of the project, would have facilities like a wheel chair. The city would also get semi-low floor MIDI buses, which would be easier for the passenger to board than the conventional ones.

The APSRTC authorities said that a total of 737 buses were announced for the state under the JnNURM phase-II of which 422 buses were exclusively meant for the city. The projected cost of these buses would be Rs 332.34 crore. Of this, the transport corporation would have to bear Rs 130 crore, while the central and state governments would pay the remaining Rs 202 crore. Of the Rs 130 crore of the APSRTC’s share, about Rs 100 crore would be spent on the buses in the city.

However, the APSRTC officials were sceptical of the JnNURM buses. On October 17, 2013, the then vice-chairman and managing director of the APSRTC AK Khan said that nearly 60 per cent of the 1,476 buses procured by the state under the JNNURM phase-I developed major mechanical defects in just three years (the life of a bus is around seven to eight years).

"The buses bought under JNNURM phase-I developed snags after just three years. Nearly 60 per cent of the buses had serious problems. The issue was brought to the notice of the companies which supplied them and in some cases repairs were made. All these buses were then bought by the central government and later sent to the APSRTC,'' Khan said.

Now the APSRTC has been under a spot of bother again with the phase-II of the project being implemented. A conventional RTC bus would run 200 to 250 km a day in the city and would require 55 to 60 litres of petrol and would give a mileage of 4.5 kmpl. But reports with the APSRTC suggest that phase-II buses require 100 litres of petrol to run a day but would only offer a measly mileage of 2.5 kmpl. Sources mentioned that a section of APSRTC officials were against the procurement of these buses.

“We are likely to introduce 375 additional buses for the year 2014, as per the directive of the central govt. Introduction and implementation of the buses is in the process and would take 4 months,” said GV Ramana Rao, executive director (operations).

“The operational cost and mileage of the JnNURM buses was not on par with the standard benchmark,” he added.

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