Amaravati, Sep 13 (PTI) Heads of the State Road Transport Corporations of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will meet in Hyderabad on Tuesday to thrash out contentious issues that have been hindering the resumption of interstate bus services despite the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Andhra Pradesh has already expressed willingness to cut down its services while asking Telangana to increase its operations so as to bring parity.
In the first phase, AP said it would operate only 72,000 route kilometers and requested Telangana also do the same so that people have access to public transportation.
However, Telangana is said to be insisting on signing an interstate agreement first before resuming the services.
Telangana also wrote a letter to the APSRTC saying it had no plans to either to purchase new buses or run additional services (to AP).
As such, it only insisted that AP reduce its own services to curtail the route kilometers.
The main demand from Telangana is that buses be operated on route-wise, kilometer-wise parity basis.
'We are accepting (to bring in) parity but there is a demand from the public (for bus services).
Hence we asked them to increase their services while offering to reduce our services to bring parity,' Principal Secretary (Transport) M T Krishna Babu, who also holds additional charge as Managing Director of APSRTC, said on Sunday.
He pointed out that any interstate agreement for running bus services would be on parity basis only.
AP has no objection even if Telangana operates three lakh route kilometers.
'We too will run the same. But if they are not ready to increase the services and also want us to cut ours, it is the people who suffer. Private operators will take advantage,' the Principal Secretary pointed out.
'So far we had two rounds of talks at the Executive Directors level and on Tuesday we, the MDs, will be meeting.
We will try to reach an amicable solution acceptable to both. We will do our best,' Krishna Babu said.
He noted that there was public demand and huge requirement for bus services.
'The private operators are naturally taking advantage of the current situation.
At least 750 private buses are in operation between AP and Telangana, mainly in the Vijayawada-Hyderabad sector. Most of them are running on court orders. If we cut our operations by 1.1 lakh, as being demanded by Telangana, it could add some 300-400 private buses.
That will not be beneficial to either government,' Krishna Babu pointed out.
Referring to agreements with other states, the Principal Secretary said they were done with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
While services to Karnataka were running, Tamil Nadu did not give permission for long distance services citing a large number of Covid-19 cases.
'They are asking us to wait,' Krishna Babu said.
Another neighbouring state Odisha also did not permit interstate services yet, he added. PTI DBV ROH ROH