Transport Minister Anil Parab on Friday admitted that privatisation of the loss-making Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRTC) is one of the options being discussed but not on the table at present. He said the government has to explore multiple options as the striking unions have not yet called off the strike despite repeated appeals for talks.
The government in phases may conduct MSRTC’s privatization and in the beginning it may open up long-distance routes to private transport operators.
‘’ST is the lifeline of the poor. It is the government’s job to explore multiple options for the continuation of its operations and also for the betterment of the employees and the commuters. If the workers stick to their demands, the government must consider different options and the process is underway,’’ said Parab.
Parab’s statement came a day after he held a marathon meeting with the MSRTC management on Thursday. It is important especially when ordinary commuters are suffering and the MSRTC is losing Rs 15 to 20 crore every day due to strike.
MSRTC’s accumulated losses last week have risen to Rs 12,000 crore and despite that it has paid the salaries for the last 18 months by taking a financial assistance of Rs 3,549 crore from the state government.
On the stalemate between the government and the striking employees, Parab said he has been appealing them every day for talks but they are adamant. ‘’The government has a clear position that a committee appointed by the High Court will deliberate and make its recommendation of the demand made by employees for the MSRTC’s merger with the state government,’’ he added.
However, Parab said the employees are not in a mood to listen nor are they coming forward for talks. ‘’They are not listening to any union. We have doubts whether they listen to BJP leaders or not. So, whom to talk to. Let them appoint their representative, I will talk to him,’’ he noted.