ED-level talks between Telangana, AP on resumption of services remain inconclusive

Resumption of inter-State bus services between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh appears to be unlikely in the immediate future.

The Executive Director-level talks between the two States on the issue remained inconclusive and the officials agreed to work out the finer details of the agreement at the next meeting. The talks assume significance as the RTC services between the two States were stopped on March 22 after the announcement of lockdown. The two corporations resumed services to neighbouring States like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu since relaxations were announced towards May-end as part of Unlock 1.0, but services between the two Telugu States remained suspended since the past couple of months. The more than three-hour discussions, according to sources, were focused on formulation of an agreement for operating inter-State services between the two States.

The States did not enter into an understanding in this direction since the formation of separate Telangana State in 2014. The discussions were centred on the guidelines that should be adopted and the operational issues that should form part of the agreement between the two States. During a high-level meeting between the two States in Vijayawada in the first week of June, the officials on the two sides agreed in principle for signing an agreement, but the process could not make much headway thereafter. While the Telangana side officials wanted a formal agreement to be signed to avoid scope for any losses to the TSRTC, the AP officials said that they would discuss the issue with their government and seek its directions in this regard, leading to a stalemate in the discussions. The AP officials, however, said they would return to the discussions sooner than later after taking the view of their government.

The officials reportedly discussed about the extent which the TSRTC services would cover in the neighbouring State and the extent of coverage by APSRTC here. Issues like the number of halts and the areas where the services could be operated were reported to have figured in the talks. The discussions assume significance as this was the first time the officials of the rank of EDs met at TSRTC headquarters, Bus Bhavan, for finalising an agreement between the two States since bifurcation. The operation of services between the two States, however, continued over the past few years till the lockdown was announced.

With novel COVID-19 hitting the services and buses remaining in depots for a long time, the managements of the public sector undertakings were of the firm view that resumption of inter-State services was one important option available to sustain themselves. Though a meeting in this direction was convened in June first week, it had to be deferred after employees of the Bus Bhavan were tested positive to COVID-19.

APSRTC executive director K.S. Brahmananda Reddy, Telangana EDs Purushotham Reddy and E. Yadagiri and other senior officials were present.

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