As part of the “100 days, 100 programmes” initiative of Kerala government, the Kerala Road Transport Corporation (Kerala RTC) has begun a parcel service — much like that of the Indian Railways — to tide over the losses suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the pandemic, an increase in the price of diesel and spare parts have also put a strain on the state’s transport corporation, as a result of which it kick-started ”KSRTC Logistics” — an attempt to increase the revenue of the undertaking, apart from ticket sales. Under this initiative, modified vehicles of Kerala RTC will be used for transporting letters and parcels of various government departments, public sector units, constitutional bodies and even private institutions.
Although it has not begun operating officially, the State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) has announced that it will be availing the services of KSRTC for the transportation of COVID-19 food kits. This was informed by Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday. He said that the first service of the project will be renting a few of the buses to Supplyco on a monthly basis for the shipment of emergency food kits to all ration card holders across the state.
As per a statement by Kerala RTC, Supplyco will be provided with five buses for a monthly rent of Rs 1,25,000. These buses will be provided for a maximum of 2,500 kilometres after which, Kerala RTC will begin charging Rs 50 for every extra kilometre.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan unveiled the logo of KSRTC Logistics on Tuesday
Speaking to TNM, MG Rahul, General Secretary of the Kerala State Transport Employees Union (KSTEU), said that although this project may not ensure a sudden profit for the undertaking, it will help in easing some of the strain.
“On an average, we used to obtain a revenue of about Rs 6 crore to Rs 6.5 crore per day for almost 17 lakh kilometres covered that day. Out of this, Rs 3 crore used to go only for fuel charges. The remaining 3 crore was used for all other purposes including the salaries of all the employees,” said Rahul. He went on to add that ever since the lockdown was lifted and the services resumed almost two months ago, the corporation has not been able to obtain a revenue of more than Rs 1.57 crore per day.
Kerala RTC also stated that discussions are in process for the transportation and distribution of examination question papers and answer scripts of Kerala Public Service Commission and various universities across the state, with the help of GPS-enabled vehicles. There is also a proposal to carry medicals from Kerala Medical Service Corporation to the various hospitals in the state.
Biju Prabhakar IAS, Managing Director of Kerala RTC was quoted by The Hindu to have said that, “The aim is to channelise the parcels of all departments through the facility and make the KSRTC Logistics the official parcel service of the Kerala government.”
Kerala RTC on Tuesday, also released an app named “Ente KSRTC” (My KSRTC), to make online reservations for passengers more convenient.