Representational Image | Mathrubhumi/ Sreejith P Raj
Kochi: The government is not liable to pay salaries to the staff of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) staff, informed the state government in an affidavit filed in the High Court on Saturday.
KSRTC is the most loss-making transport corporation in South India. However, the employees of KSRTC are not supporting the efforts taken to turn the loss-making public sector undertaking into a profit-making institution by learning from other transport corporations, said an affidavit filed by Bishwanath Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary of the Finance Department.
The affidavit was submitted in response to a petition filed by the KSRTC employees requesting the state government to take over the responsibility of salary disbursal.
The government pointed out that as of February 22, 2023, the financial assistance of Rs 1315.005 crore was allocated to KSRTC. Every month, Rs 50 crore is allocated to cover salary expenditures and Rs 62.67 crore to pay pension.
Further, KSRTC is an independent organization separate from the government department. The government has no obligation to provide assistance to cover the day-to-day operations of such PSUs. Providing financial help is a matter of policy decision of the government. It is not a matter for consideration by the court. The government have no obligation to help firms that are in crisis due to inefficiency and lack of productivity, the affidavit noted.
At present, 17.5 per cent of KSRTC buses are not conducting service. KSRTC is still following a decades-old duty system, leading to reduced productivity and recurring disputes. The KSRTC workshops are outdated, and the workers are taking a stand against adopting new reforms.
An agreement had been made with the employee unions about the changes before implementing the salary revision. However, this has not been implemented even after 14 months. Negotiations between employee unions and management are the proper method to resolve disputes in institutions like KSRTC. However, that is not happening in this case.