The public sector undertaking needs Rs.112 crore to stay afloat

At a time when the State’s finances are in sharp focus, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) finds itself in the grip of a financial crisis: badly in need of Rs.112 crore to pay the salary, bonus, and pension of those on the payroll between August 31 and September 12.

The State transport undertaking has been provided a provision of Rs.325 crore in the last budget, but has received only Rs.150 crore so far, official sources told The Hindu on Wednesday. And the KSRTC management is virtually knocking at the door of the Finance Department for the balance.

The KSRTC, which claims to have adopted financial discipline and streamlined its schedules to overcome the losses, will not be able to pay the salary, pension, and bonus before Onam if funds are not released.

Liabilities

The corporation needs Rs.54 crore to pay the salary to its 40,180 staff, Rs.36 crore for disbursal of pension to its 37,000 retired personnel, and Rs.32 crore for bonus. Besides, Rs.70 crore is needed for settling the fuel bill for the 4.3 lakh litres of diesel being purchased daily. For repaying the loan it has taken from the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC), it needs Rs.38 crore and another Rs.2 crore for the loan taken from the LIC and HUDCO.

Besides, Rs.15 crore is needed for pension fund (10 per cent of the daily collection as directed by the High Court) and Rs.11 crore for settling Motor Accident Claims Tribunal claims and purchase of tyre, tubes, and spares for the fleet.

While the monthly expense has mounted to Rs.230 crore, the income from the fleet is only Rs.140 crore, as the daily collection hovers around Rs.4.4 crore on an average. The revenue-expenditure gap has gone up to Rs.90 crore and is alarming, sources said.

“The corporation has fully utilised the Rs.150-crore budgetary support during the last four months. If the balance amount is released, the KSRTC can tide over the present financial crisis and stay afloat at least till December,” official sources said.

Taking over the monthly pension liability by the government and restructuring the loans could improve the financial situation of the KSRTC, a top official said.

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