Himachal roadways losses continue to mount

Shimla: Dependent solely on road transport for moving goods and people in the hill state, losses continue to accumulate each year in operating Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) with CAG picking out an additional loss of Rs 27.74 crore on its balance sheet.

Loss for running the 2093 vehicles which includes 1996 buses in 2010-11 was Rs 23.07 crore, the HRTC annual account statement records.

Revenue of the corporation for the year was Rs 498 crore, which included a passenger income of Rs 367 crore, but the expenditure was over Rs 511 Cr that includes Rs 114.33 as operating costs and Rs 220.42 crore repair and maintenance expenditure.

However, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit of the accounts pointed out that total liabilities had been under assessed by Rs 27.4 crores and assets over valued by Rs 30.37 lakhs.

Some of the entries flagged were that the corporation had not made any provision for Rs 12.27 crore arrears payable to employees against revised scales from January, 2006.

An amount of Rs 13.14 Cr for the period 2004-05 to 2008-09 had not been deposited in the pension fund trust as pension contribution.

For dearness allowance due from January, 2011, an amount of Rs 1.60 crore had not been provided for.

Service tax of 14.29 lakhs on advertisement service income and Rs 2.69 lakhs service tax on operating a courier service for the period of 2004-05 to 2008-09 was yet to be paid.

On the assets side, Rs 7.36 lakhs shown as outstanding debt was irrecoverable as the audit showed it was for 1981 to 2005 period but no records of these debts was available.

An amount of Rs 5.92 lakhs shown as recoverable from various parties was overstated as the amount had been adjusted in July, 2007.

An outstanding amount of Rs 3.85 lakh shown as recoverable claim for supply of defective spare parts was irrecoverable as there was no record for the claims shown.

CAG has also raised doubts about recovery of Rs 12.79 lakhs that had either been misappropriated by employees who had either been dismissed from service or were compulsorily retired. This included Rs 10.16 lakhs worth of diesel misappropriated from July to November, 2006.

On a share capital of Rs 413.7 crore, the public transporter that was incorporated in 1974 had accumulated losses of Rs 573 crore on its books.

The corporation had a staff of 8496 on its rolls which included 3020 drivers, 2727 conductors and 1460 mechanics in various workshops. The corporation also had 656 personnel in the administrative wing, 257 inspectors and 426 other workers.

Reasons given by the management for the incurring losses were that though fares had been increased but not commensurate with cost of operations, increase in cost of spares and pay revision for employees,

Compensation provided by the government for permitting concessional travelling facilities to various categories and operating un-economical routes in remote and hard areas was not enough to offset concessions and expenditure incurred, the HRTC management puts it on record.

Through the financial year, Himachal Roadways vehicles met with 138 accidents in which 53 people died and another 334 were injured.

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