SRTC needs professional management

One of the very few fleets in India with comparative minimum road accidents and the crew known for treating passengers comparatively nicely, the State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) is rife with areas of utter neglect and accentuating the whole mess all about, on account of poor and non professional management continues to be no one’s baby . As if the stiff competition from more comfortable, though a bit costly, small sized taxi vehicles and fleet from other States plying on JK roads was any less to cause innumerable set back to this once proud ‘Government Transport Undertaking’ , knowingly the State Government authorities are denying the Corporation even their due in business in conventional areas and on roads which opportunity is stolen by private transporters. With this indifferent, if not wholly callous approach, the fate of the Corporation was doomed to be reduced to redundancy and gratuitousness.
It is sad that after every road accident, especially in three mountainous districts of Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban nothing excepting sympathy statements and formalities of ex-gratia payments etc made in favour of the victims and everything thereafter is forgotten. The main cause of such accidents has been due to a mismatch between the number of vehicles and the travelling passengers. Overcrowding takes place and the drivers of such over peopled buses fail to control them at critical turns leading to accidents. Governor’s administration which otherwise takes stock of important issues pending for long and duly addresses them but in respect of SRTC , no attention is paid towards the issues plaguing it. What logic does it carry to ply only 14 buses in the areas concerned as against the requirement of nearly 100 vehicles?
The fleet of the corporation is reportedly in dire need of augmentation as least in these three hilly areas of Jammu but neither any decision is finally taken to purchase them nor any other arrangements made in lieu thereof. It is unbelievable that compared to the number of buses plied on these routes as back as in the year 2010 were 34 while as of now, even that number stands reduced to mere 14. Not only this, we have pinpointed information about many buses developing snags and needing repairs or replacement of parts are allowed to be ‘grounded’ and revenue losses allowed to occur but no one is concerned about their repairs and maintenance.
Today’s requirements cannot be met with the old, dilapidated , outdated measures in any field , least in the transport sector where prudent and professional management constantly remains on tenterhooks to see how at the earliest, they responded successfully to the latest demands and requirements. Passengers want not only readily available and plying passenger vehicles but more comforts on board and an effective management plans ahead to cater to their needs but that touch of sheer salesmanship and professionalism, is missing on SRTC canvas. Revenue leakages, pilferages, fuel mismanagement and complaints of other irregularities including not paying salaries and pay to the staff in time, are all making SRTC vulnerable to become a sheer liability .
The need of the hour is to have a paradigm shift in overall approach towards this transport enterprise of the State of Jammu and Kashmir , devise policy and planning for the ultimate aim of bringing about a turnaround in its operation and functioning which includes going in for buying the required number of new comfortable buses usually not more in length and specially tailored for mountainous regions . For all this, a dedicated professional management is required including the State administration to lend the requisite support to the efforts to rejuvenate the SRTC.