As many as 6,000 candidates shortlisted by the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) for filling vacancies of conductors in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) are likely to be left in the lurch.

Though the KSRTC had reported 9,300 vacancies to the PSC in different phases, it is understood to have expressed its inability in enhancing its permanent staff strength at one go. The intake is likely to be restricted to 3,300 at present.

Massive drive

PSC sources told The Hindu here on Sunday that without heeding the KSRTC’s cautioning against such a massive recruitment drive, directives were issued to the PSC staff to complete the procedures within a specific time frame. This was aimed at serving recruitment advice to all candidates before Onam. The haste shown by the PSC has drawn criticism. The KSRTC’s warning was ignored on the pretext that vacancies once reported to the PSC cannot be reduced or cancelled.

When informed about the completion of recruitment procedures, the KSRTC is understood to have said that it requires only 3,300 candidates. This means that 6,000 shortlisted candidates will have to cool their heels for a long time. The KSRTC’s argument that recruitment at such a massive scale had to be deferred due to financial constraints was justified, sources said.

Oil price rise

Because of rise in oil prices, there is no chance of an immediate addition to the KSRTC’s fleet and the future seems bleak.

(While the monthly expense of the KSRTC has gone up to Rs.230 crore, the income is only Rs.140 crore as the daily collection hovers around Rs.4.4 crore. The KSRTC’s revenue-expenditure gap has gone up to Rs.90 crore. The KSRTC needs 4.3 lakh litres of diesel daily and the diesel price has gone up from Rs.48 a litre in November 2012, when the fares were revised, to Rs.53.85 on August 31. The market price of diesel is Rs.54.91 a litre but the corporation does not have to pay commission.)

Since the recruitment of conductors is directly linked to the fleet strength, majority of the 6,000 candidates may not be appointed within a year. Their hopes rest on the number of candidates who are likely turn down the appointment offer. The KSRTC will have to fill the remaining 6,000 vacancies, which will be a challenging task. Because, the norms on job reservation will have to be adhered to while recruiting, for which the PSC is most equipped. This would result in procedural delays, sources said. The impasse can be resolved through tripartite discussions involving the government, the KSRTC and the PSC.

The Hindu