(updates with Telangana transport minister's reax) Amaravati/Hyderabad, Sep 12 (PTI) The impasse over arriving at an agreement to resume interstate bus services between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana post-COVID-19 lockdown continues, with the Telangana government allegedly cancelling a meeting of the Transport ministers of the two states on September 14.
The Telangana government abruptly cancelled a meeting of the Transport ministers, scheduled for Monday, AP government sources said here on Saturday.
However,a brief statement from Telangana Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar said there is no meeting being held between both the ministers on Monday.
'No official meeting has been fixed with the AP Transport minister,' he said.
Stating that meetings will continue at the officials level, the minister said a minister-level meeting wiil be held only after some issues were resolved between the states.
With official level talks yielding no result, the AP government sought to bargain a political solution and the state Transport minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) took up the issue with his Telangana counterpart P Ajay Kumar.
Thousands, if not lakhs, of people in the two states remain without a public transport option as the standoff continued despite the complete opening of interstate borders as part of Unlock 4.
The lucrative Vijayawada-Hyderabad sector has become the main bone of contention between the two states as Telangana was said to be insisting that AP forego the profitable route operations.
According to sources,Telangana is reportedly sour that its limited services to Vijayawada from Hyderabad are sparsely patronized, causing a loss to its Road Transport Corporation.
As two rounds of talks between officials concerned of the states did not break the deadlock, the AP side hoped a possible political intervention might end the tussle and get the buses back on roads.
Post-formation of Telangana in June 2014, the AP Reorganisation Act enabled running of interstate public sector Road Transport Corporation bus services for five years without any formal agreement or permit.
That arrangement ended in June 2019 but no fresh pact was signed between the two states, though there was never a break in RTC bus services till the Covid-19 lockdown came into force on March 25.
'At the time of bifurcation in June 2014, APSRTC buses were running 3.37 lakh route km to Telangana while the latter operated only 94,000 route kilometers.
Over the last five years, Telangana increased its operations to 1.55 lakh route kilometers while AP brought it down to 2.65 lakh kilometers,' a top official of the AP Transport said.
AP was hitherto running 500 services to TS per day, out of which 400-odd were to Hyderabad city only.
'Hyderabad services are the biggest revenue earners and Telangana now wants to grab it all.It wants us to cut the route kilometers by one lakh kilometers though we agreed to reduce 50,000 kilometers.
We also asked Telangana to enhance its own operations by 50,000 kilometers to bring parity.Still, it has not come forward to sign an agreement and resume interstate services,' the Transport official noted. PTI DBV GDKBN WELCOME GDKBN WELCOME