Kolkata: With an aim of putting in place an effective and economically vibrant transport system by this September, the West Bengal government is contemplating VRS to shed out willing and physically unfit employees.
"Ineffective manpower has to be stripped, besides helping these sick transport corporations to boost collection of revenues and make a turnaround," state`s Transport Minister Madan Mitra told a news agency.
If required, employees would now be appointed on contract basis replacing those physically unfit, he said.
Blaming the erstwhile Left Front government for the problems in the transport sector, Mitra said they were committed to make a turnaround by September this year.
The minister held a review meeting recently with the chairmen, managing directors and board members of five state-run transport corporations to discuss the issue.
"At least 1,000 to 1,500 employees in each of these corporations have expressed their desire to take VRS because of physical weakness and frustration. We must take this opportunity to reduce the burden of surplus manpower," Mitra said.
"It has been possible to hike collection of revenues in all these five corporations in the last six months following guidelines by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But we should take some more concrete steps to reduce their burden and streamline the administration for a turnaround," he said.
An expert committee would soon be appointed to work out how the corporations could offer appointment on contract.
Besides, surplus land of these transport bodies would be identified and used for commercial purpose to enhance revenue in the department.
Employees on contract might replace those drivers and conductors identified as unfit for transport operations, while water transport would be make more popular to boost revenue earning, the minister said.
"To ascertain the physical fitness of the employees, the corporations will set up medical boards within seven days before offering VRS to medically unfits," Mitra said.
Noting that several steps had already been initiated to enhance collection of revenues in all the corporations, he said, "This has helped them to earn nearly Rs 10 crore in the last three months. Besides, the corporations cleared all backlogs in making payment to their staff".
To make state buses more passenger-friendly, smart cards might soon be started.
Maintaining that the government is committed to deploy 500 additional state buses before Durga Puja this year, he said 2,000 more buses would be offered to corporate sector for private operation.
Besides, tram services would soon be re-arranged to make it commercially viable.
Meanwhile, the state government has set up a high-powered committee headed by an IAS officer to resolve problems relating to autorickshaw operations in the state.