The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is facing severe financial crisis with the Corporation needing Rs.240 crore to make both ends meet till March 2013.
The KSRTC is looking forward to the government to overcome the crisis either by obtaining financial assistance or by taking over the pension liability as the Corporation cannot borrow any more from the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC) from which it had availed itself of Rs.1,580 crore as loan over the years.
Official sources told The Hindu that the government had been kept informed of the grave financial crisis.
In addition to the Rs.1,200 crore taken from the KTDFC over the years to pay pension, the KSRTC had taken Rs.380 crore in three instalments of Rs.240 crore, Rs.100 crore, and Rs.40 crore — as loan so far during this financial year to meet financial commitments.
This is in addition to the Rs.100-crore budgetary support provided to the KSRTC.
“The KSRTC cannot take any further loan from the KTDFC. The KSRTC is paying Rs.30 crore every month to the KTDFC for the loan it had taken already.
“Only the government can bail out the Corporation from its present crisis,” sources said.
Taking over the Rs.35-crore monthly pension liability of the Corporation by the government and restructuring the loans could improve the financial situation of the KSRTC within a year, a top official said.
As per projections for January, the KSRTC with monthly revenue of Rs.145 crore will have a revenue-expenditure gap of Rs.70 crore. The monthly fuel bill of the KSRTC fleet will be Rs.68 crore and salary bill after pay revision that is being implemented from January will touch Rs.53 crore.
In addition, the Corporation will have to find Rs.35 crore for pension, Rs.14 for court attachments, Rs.35 crore for repayment of loans taken from the KTDFC and other funding agencies, and Rs.10 crore is needed for spares, tyres, and honouring MACT (Motor Accident Claims Tribunal) awards.
The KSRTC, which has a fleet of 6,153 buses, operates 5,491 schedules on an average and the staff strength is 40,180.
“The number of pensioners of the KSRTC is 37,000 and the Corporation can tide over the problem if the government takes over the pension liability,” sources said.
The KSRTC had recently adopted financial discipline and streamlined schedules to overcome losses.
But, the average monthly earning from the fleet is only Rs.50 crore despite the hike in bus fare.