KSRTC should have pro-labour policy: KT Rammohan

KSRTC buses. Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

Kochi: KSRTC should be governed by a team who have a pro-labour policy, says KT Rammohan, Social Scientist and former Dean of Social Sciences, MG University.

Rammohan points out that KSRTC's significance as one of the vital services in Kerala should be factored into whichever reform package, the govt plans to execute.
Here are the important suggestions put forth by Rammohan on his Facebook post, that takes an empathetic and insightful look into the long pending issues of KSRTC.

a) KSRTC should have a pro-labour leadership, whether minister, managers, or unions.

b)The earlier model of inviting an expert who flies in to the Thycaud guest house and finishes report-writing in a week, without boarding a KSRTC bus even once, or engaging management consultancy corporates who have no clue or commitment should go.

c) Traffic planning should begin by assessing local needs. It might be possible to think of buses, small and big, connecting short distances and buses with toilets to traverse the long distance. One reason why many choose to travel by train is the availability of loo. This is especially important in an ageing society like Kerala.

d) The possibility of KSRTC operating all government school and college buses may be pursued.

e) Gifting or selling old buses to schools at throwaway prices is simply selling off public assets. It is a feature of the neo-liberal approach. The buses don't meet the requirements of the classroom either. This practice, therefore, needs to be stopped immediately. Efforts may be directed towards making the maximum number of buses roadworthy.

f) KSRTC shall ideally but not necessarily break-even. Serving common people, and employing nearly 35000 workers are major social benefits that should be factored in. Further ways of enhancing its social value as also revenue by offering internships thereby facilitating hands-on training for students of ITIs and polytechnic institutes may be sought.

g) The kind of field information that KSRTC needs for transport planning could be meticulously and economically collected through specially formed local, student-teacher collectives, which closely work with the grama sabha. Rather than multinational consultancy organisations, organisations like KSSP should be able to offer better advice to KSRTC.

h) The possibility of re-forming KSRTC as a federation of regional, workers' cooperatives may be worth exploring.

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