KSRTC to secure private buses on wet lease

Move is for ‘Grama Vandi’ project that provides connectivity to Kerala’s remote areas

The Transport Department is also looking to secure buses owned by private operators on wet lease for operating the proposed ‘Grama Vandi’ bus service.

Hundreds of private operators were forced to discontinue services due to COVID-19-induced financial constraints. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will secure these buses on wet lease so that adequate number of vehicles are available for Grama Vandi services, Minister for Transport Antony Raju informed the Assembly on Friday.

Annual lease

The Grama Vandi initiative, to be spearheaded by the KSRTC, is designed to connect rural areas of the State that face connectivity problems.

The private-owned buses will be secured on an annual lease. All the concessions available in KSRTC buses will be applicable to the proposed service, he said. Inter-district services are under consideration of the Transport Department. In areas inaccessible to big buses, 18 to 32-seater vehicles will be used, Mr. Raju said.

Routes by local bodies

The Transport Department is collaborating with the Local Self-Government Department for rolling out the Grama Vandi services. The services will be operated on routes recommended by the local bodies at ticket fares determined by the KSRTC. The timings also will be decided by the local bodies.

On the other hand, the diesel expenses have to be met by the local bodies. Private entities and organisations also can sponsor services, the Minister said.

Mobile ration shops

The KSRTC has decided to collaborate with the Civil Supplies Department for rolling out ‘Ration Shop on Wheels.’ The mobile shops will benefit communities, including tribal settlements in remote areas, the Transport Minister said.

The Civil Supplies Department has given approval for 10 such ration shops, Mr. Raju informed the Assembly. Steps have also been taken to start Labham markets of the Civil Supplies Department, Kudumbashree hotels, and offices of various departments in vacant spaces in KSRTC depots, he said.

Bevco outlets

Discussions are in progress with the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) for opening liquor outlets in KSRTC-owned spaces, other than KSRTC depots and bus stations, Mr. Raju said.

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