The Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday approved the decision to merge the debt-ridden Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) with the state government, creating a Public Transport Department for the state. With the merger, more than 50,000 employees of APSRTC, who have been demanding better job security for years, will now be treated on par with state government employees.
Andhra Pradesh Minister of Transport Perni Venkataramaiah said that the decision was taken in accordance with the recommendations submitted by an expert committee led by Anjaneya Reddy, a former IPS officer who had also served as a managing director of APSRTC.
The merger had been approved by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday, following a meeting with members of the Anjaneya Reddy committee. The modalities were finalised in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Sharing some of the key decisions made in the cabinet meeting with the media, Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said that the process of the merger is set to be completed in the next 3 months. â€śHigher officials from the state departments of Transport, Finance, Law and General Administration have been instructed by the CM to complete the merger process within 3 months,â€ť he said.
With the creation of the Andhra Pradesh Public Transport Department (APPTD), Venkataramaiah said that APSRTC employees will now be considered as state government employees. â€śNearly 52,000 employees will be re-designated in the Public Transport Department. The service rules and facilities will be on par with state government employees. The retirement age will also be increased from 58 to 60 years,â€ť he said.
He added that the status of contract workers with APSRTC will remain the same after the merger. He also said that an independent authority will be set up to regulate bus charges, as per the expert committeeâ€™s recommendations.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, during his election campaign, had promised to merge the APSRTC with the state government. After coming to power in May, he formed two panels, including an experts' panel, to study the issue and make recommendations.
The APSRTC had accumulated losses of Rs. 6,373 crore. The government proposes to run more electric buses to control the losses.