Cannot shoulder KSRTC’s liability, govt. tells court

The State government on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that it could not shoulder any further liability of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) in view of its present financial constraints.

In an affidavit, the government said that it had already paid the KSRTC Rs.150 crore during the current financial year to meet its working capital requirements.

The government was considering a proposal of the KSRTC Managing Director to convert the loan amounts into equities and write off the interests, including the penal interest.

Proposal rejected
It had already rejected a proposal to share the pension liability of employees by the State government and the KSRTC at 1:1 ratio.

The government added in the affidavit that the KSRTC could not always depend on the government for their working capital requirements, including payment of pensions.

It had to find out its own resources to meet its liabilities. Once a scheme contemplated under the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (Passenger Group Personal Accident Insurance, Improved Passenger Amenities, Employees Social Security and Cess on Passenger Ticket Ordinance) was approved, the Corporation could collect an amount (cess) over and above the ticket fare. It was expected to rake in around Rs.160 crore a year as additional income.

The government said it could not provide financial help to public sector undertakings merely on the ground that they were doing some social obligations and catering to public needs. If such an attitude was adopted, the government would not be able to allot funds for other developmental works requiring more public interest and needs.

The KSRTC had already initiated action for liquidating high interest rate loans by availing itself of loan from nationalised banks with lower interest rate. If such an action was accomplished, an amount of Rs.15-20 crore could be saved a month.

Referring to the petitioner’s submission that the government owed huge amount to the KSRTC towards various travel concessions, the affidavit said that KSRTC had not so far submitted a proper and realistic set of accounts showing the actual usage of passes and the amount of concessions actually given by the KSRTC.

The claim of the KSRTC that each pass holder enjoyed maximum possible journey on every day round the year was irrational and erroneous .As a result, the claim was rejected by the Finance Department.

Source: The Hindu