Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to settle by January 11, the pending deficit of Rs 204 crore towards the statutory dues payable to over 7,000 retired employees of state owned transport corporations.
Passing further interim orders, a division bench comprising Justices S.Manikumar and M.Govindaraj gave the directive and made it clear that the amount should be disbursed to retired employees by January 12.
As on June 22, the state government owned Rs 614.91 crore to over 7,000 retired employees of its transport undertakings towards statutory dues like provident fund, gratuity and other superannuation benefits. Also, it owed Rs 5,074.75 crore to its existing employees.
Originally, an 82-year-old retired employee brought the issue to the knowledge of the court through a post card. Treating the post card sent by Mayandi Servai as a PIL, the bench pulled up the state government, which finally agreed to settle Rs 1,136 crore in installments. Thereafter, the bench directed the government to settle Rs 379 crore by December 15.
When the case came up for hearing on Wednesday, advocate general Vijay Narayan submitted that the state was facing severe financial crisis. The state was in stressful financial situation. It has taken over Rs 10,000 crore commitments over and above the budget estimates for 2017-18, he added. He also said Rs 175 crore has been released out of the promised Rs 379 crore.
The bench said, “Considering the grievance of the retired employees who were paid the legitimate dues belatedly and beyond the period fixed by the court, we direct the government to pay the deficit of Rs 204 crore by January 11, at any cost and ensure disbursement by January 12 (before Pongal festival)”.