The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has again plunged into a financial crisis with the corporation defaulting payment of pension for the month of October. It needs Rs.122.5 crore to pay the salary of those on the rolls, the pension of its retired personnel, and to meet other financial exigencies before November 30.

A severe cash crunch and inability of the State-owned transport utility to mobilise Rs.35 crore have delayed the disbursal of pension, paid on the fifth working day of the succeeding month, to as many as 37,000 retired employees. Official sources told The Hindu that the management paid Rs.54 crore as salary and wages to its 40,000 staff with much difficulty on October 31, and uncertainty prevails over when the pension can be paid as its efforts to mobilise the necessary funds have not succeeded.

The KSRTC, which has adopted financial discipline and streamlined its schedules to overcome losses, is looking towards the government for financial assistance to pay the salary and pension.

Apart from the Rs.35 core needed for paying pension, the transport utility needs over Rs.54 crore by November 30 for paying salary and two pending DA instalments and another Rs.40 crore for pension by December 5.

The corporation also needs Rs.15 crore for pension fund (10 per cent of the daily collection as directed by the High Court) and Rs.11 crore for Motor Accident Claims Tribunal claims and purchase of tyre, tubes, and spares. In addition, the corporation will have to find Rs.40 crore for repayment of loans and Rs.80 crore for the fuel bill.

While the monthly expense of the KSRTC has mounted to Rs.240 crore, the income is only Rs.140 crore. The revenue-expenditure gap that was Rs.90 crore will mount to Rs.100 crore by this month end.

The management is looking towards the government for getting the remaining Rs.125 crore earmarked for the corporation this year. Of the Rs.325 crore sanctioned, Rs.200 crore has already been provided. Even if the Rs.125 crore is provided, the corporation will have to think of mobilising funds for the next five months.