Hard-pressed to pay bonus and festival advance to its employees

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is learnt to be devising ways to mobilise Rs.30 crore to pay performance allowance, festival allowance, bonus and advance to the employees, and festival allowance to pensioners before September 12.

The State transport undertaking, with much difficulty, mobilised Rs.54 crore to pay salary to the 40,180 staff on the rolls on the last working day of August — Saturday.

The wages totalling Rs.7.5 crore will be paid to the empanelled staff on Tuesday, official sources told The Hindu. The corporation has also mobilised Rs.30 crore to pay pension to the 37,000-odd retired staff and it will be disbursed on Thursday.

For payment of salary, wages and pension, the corporation availed itself of a loan from the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC). The management gave sureties of three bus depots — Kottarakara, Adoor and Muvattupuzha — to secure the loan. The collection at the three depots will go to the account of the KTDFC.

Sources said the corporation had taken Rs. 290 crore loan from the KTDFC this financial year. It cannot take more loan as the total loan amount had touched a whopping Rs.1,580 crore. The KSRTC has, so far, taken Rs.1,200 crore in loans to pay the pension. It is paying Rs. 38 crore every month to the KTDFC for the loan and Rs. 2 crore to the LIC and HUDCO.

Official sources said the management is struggling to mobilise funds to disburse bonus, advance and incentive payment before Onam. The only hope is that the government would step in to provide assistance. The State-transport undertaking, which was provided Rs. 325 crore in the budget, had received only Rs. 150 crore so far. Efforts to get the balance Rs.175 crore had not been successful till Monday despite taking it up at the highest level, sources said.

Last financial year, the corporation received only Rs. 203 crore, including the Rs. 20 crore diesel subsidy, against the budgetary support of Rs. 225 crore. “Paying the balance Rs. 22 crore at this juncture will come in handy to the KSRTC,” sources added. While the monthly expense has gone up to Rs.230, the income is only Rs.140 crore as the daily collection hovers around Rs. 4.4 crore. The KSRTC’s revenue-expenditure gap has gone up to Rs.90 crore. The KSRTC needs 4.3 lakh litres of diesel daily and the diesel price has gone up from Rs.48 a litre in November 2012, when the fares were revised, to Rs.53.85 on August 31. The market price of diesel is Rs.54.91 a litre but the corporation does not have to pay commission.