GUWAHATI, July 20 - Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary today told the Assembly that the State Government would procure 75 buses for ensuring enhanced connectivity through government-run bus services. The Government was also working on an elaborate plan to put to effective use the vast plots of land lying across the State at the disposal of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC).
The ASTC has a total of 754 bighas of land of which 86 bighas are lying unutilised.
Patowary who was replying to a question by AGP legislator Utpal Dutta said that the ASTC services had been hampered by the large number of out-of-order buses. He added that there was a �mystery� behind the frequent breaking down of ASTC buses and that the matter would be probed.
The ASTC has a fleet of 1,158 buses, 1,762 permanent employees and 2,149 temporary employees.
Significantly, earning from the ASTC has shown a downslide trend since 2006-07 when it stood at Rs 1,508.68 lakh. During 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-2014, 2914-15 and 2015-16, the ASTC�s earnings stood at Rs 1,044.92 crore, Rs 996.38 crore, Rs 956.36 crore, Rs 877.73 crore, Rs 740.21 crore and Rs 681.90 crore respectively.
�The ASTC has 272 buses out of order at the moment. Besides, 161 buses which have expired their utility are being auctioned off.
The minister said that as of now the Government was hamstrung by lack of funds but once the Finance Department sanctions the money, more buses would be purchased.
He said that an inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) would be constructed at Tezpur at a cost of Rs 35 crore. The Guwahati ASTC bus stand would also be renovated, if necessary by dismantling the old structure, he added.
Patowary said that a five-bigha plot of the ASTC at Khanapara lying unutilised would now be developed as a proper bus stand for long-distance buses. �The bus stand was earlier closed down for security reasons as it was near to the Chief Minister�s residence at Koinadhara. Meghalaya has also encroached on a part of it, while a road has been unauthorisedly constructed on another portion. We will clear the encroachment,� he said.