It’s the 5th day of the month and KSRTC does not know how to pay salaries

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation employees may go without pay this month as the government-run corporation is headed deep into a financial crisis. The KSRTC has not paid pensions to its former employees for five months.

KSRTC managing director A Hemachandran has informed the transport secretary that the corporation would find it extremely difficult to carry on with operations without paying the employees. Hemachandran told the corporation had been able to raise only Rs 60 crore to pay salaries and efforts were on to raise the rest of the amount.

The corporation needs Rs 75 crore to pay its 33,600 permanent employees and Rs 8.5 crore to pay its 9,600 temporary employees every month. Its monthly pension bill runs to Rs 58.5 crore.

Though the human rights commission has ordered the corporation to pay salaries before the fifth day of every month, the directive is seldom adhered to.

The KSRTC managing director had sent an SOS to the transport department as early as November 20 but there has not been any concrete actions to address the crisis. The authorities have held talks with many banks in the cooperative sector but they could not raise enough funds for this month.

The corporation generates about Rs 160 crore in revenue on average every month and spends about Rs 310 crore. While it spends Rs 86 crore on pay and pensions, the diesel bill runs up to Rs 90 crore. The corporation also needs Rs 87 crore to repay loans. The KSRTCs cumulative loss is Rs 8,031 crore.

The KSRTC had 34,966 permanent drivers up to April. About 2,200 employees are expected to retire by 2019. A majority of them are drivers.

The corporation has to find another Rs 3.78 crore to pay them pension and Rs 144 core for retirement benefits.