State utility unable to mobilise the required Rs.45 crore

The 35,000 permanent employees and 7,000 empanelled staff on the rolls of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) are likely to miss their salary and wages this month with the State utility unable to mobilise the required Rs.45 crore.

“All sources that had been providing financial assistance to the State-owned KSRTC have been exhausted. It is almost certain that the salary, paid on the last working day of the month, cannot be paid on February 28,” official sources told The Hindu.

The KSRTC needs Rs.40 crore for paying salary and Rs.5 crore for the wages of the empanelled staff on the rolls. The corporation could not borrow any more from the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC) from which it had taken Rs.1,300 crore as loan over the years. The KSRTC was looking towards the KTDFC for mobilising the Rs.45 crore for this month. It is learnt that the KTDFC has expressed its inability to provide further loans.

Pension arrears

The Corporation has used up the Rs.325 crore from the State Budget this financial year for ways and means. Official sources said the government had been informed of the grave financial crisis and the inability to settle the pension arrears of 37,000 retirees for the past two months, owing to the crisis. The management is looking towards the State exchequer for paying the salary and wages. The revenue-expenditure gap of the KSRTC has touched Rs.93 crore. In addition to the Rs.45 crore for salary and wages, the transport utility needs Rs.37 crore for paying pensions and another Rs.20 crore for settling the pension arrears of two months. The corporation has restricted the pension of the retirees to Rs.8,500 and Rs.9,000 during the last two months.

In addition, it will have to find Rs.14 crore for court attachments; Rs.35 crore for repayment of loans taken from the KTDFC and other funding agencies; and Rs.10 crore for spares, tyres, and honouring MACT (Motor Accident Claims Tribunal) awards.

In the wake of a strike threat by the employees on March 1, Minister for Transport Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan held discussions on Tuesday with the recognised and unrecognised unions of the KSRTC on a revival package that has been approved by the government.

Mr. Radhakrishnan, along with Chairman and Managing Director K.G. Mohanlal and top officials, participated in discussions with the CITU-affiliated KSRT Employees Association and Congress-backed Transport Democratic Federation (recognised unions). Later, discussions were held with the AITUC, BMS, Drivers Union, and STU in the night. Sources said the Minister had assured the unions that the management would take steps to clear the ambiguity on the revival package and the pension scheme being worked out with the LIC.

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