Replying to a query by BJP MLA Ashok Sarma, sate Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) has suffered a loss of Rs 700 crore since 1970.
"There are many issues. If we really want to solve ASTC's problems, we have to do reforms in it and currently we are thinking about such steps," Patowary said.
He informed the House that ASTC currently owns 1,158 buses, of which 272 buses are off-road now due to maintenance works and over 100 will be disposed as scraps as they have expired their lifetime.
Patowary said he Has asked the ASTC to go for repairing the buses instead of going for new purchases as maintenance will need lesser money.
"Our old mechanics have retired. So I asked the officials to explore options of having Annual Maintenance Contract with the maker of the buses like Tata Motors or Ashok Leyland," he added.
Without specifying the remedy, the Minister informed the House that ASTC is burdened with over-size of staff. "Moreover, there is one important reason why we incur losses. We run busses in many loss making routes just to give service to the people. So our operations cannot be compared with the private ones," he added.
Last month, Patowary had stated in the Assembly that the Assam government was evaluating options to utilise over 86 bighas of unused land of ASTC for commercial purpose to earn revenue from those.
He had also informed the House that ASTC currently has 1,762 permanent and 2,149 temporary employees. Besides, Patowary had said the organisation received Rs 151. 22 crore during 2014-15 fiscal year.