Minister says tough steps needed to save KSRTC

Thiruvananthapuram: Transport minister A.K. Saseendran said tough measures will have to be taken to tide over the crisis of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation which resulted in delayed payment of salaries in the corporation.

Mr Saseendran was responding to the notice for adjournment motion given by M. Vincent in the assembly on Thursday.

KSRTC cannot survive without cost cutting measures, the minister said.  “If the corporation goes ahead in the present condition it would have to be closed down,” he said. “In such a circumstance the plan was to go ahead with the plan to cut down cost and increase the revenue, said Mr Saseendran.

The number of employees will be cut down in a phased manner, the minister said. “The loss making schedules will be restructured. Buses from some depots will have to be shifted to other depots. The government was providing Rs 1000 crore a year to the KSRTC to tide over the financial constrain, said Mr Saseendran.

Speaker P Sreerama-krishnan refused admission to the adjournment motion on the basis of the reply by the minister, following which the opposition walked out of the house.

Meanwhile, a conductor of the KSRTC made a suicide bid on Thursday over the payment of only half the salary this month. The conductor, being identified as Vinod attached to the Papanamcode depot in Thiruvananthapuram, was admitted to medical college hospital.

Sources said that though the state government has provided Rs 16 crore from the monthly budgetary support to the KSRTC this month, the request for Rs 40 crore for disbursing the salary has got no positive response from the finance department.

Usually, salary is credited through banks on the last working day of the month. However it did not happen this. Later, half the salaries were paid to the employees.

The KSTC needs Rs 66 crore for salary for the personnel and another Rs 7 crore for the empanelled staff.

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