Kochi: Despite achieving record collection, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has failed pay salaries to its 36, 000 employees for February, However, the government has chipped in with a Rs 55 crore financial aid to resolve yet another crisis. “We need a minimum Rs 71 crore to pay the salary. The government sanctioned Rs 55 crore and now need to find the rest. We’re trying to get short-term loans from co-operative banks and aim to distribute the salary in two days,” said a senior officer.
Transport minister A. K. Saseendran said the government aid is a one-time arrangement and the corporation needed to find resources on its own.
“We’ll try to ensure that the staff gets salary by Monday. The government is aiding the corporation to be self-reliant,” he told DC. The corporation earlier approached the government, seeking Rs 140 crore to provide one month’s salary and the pension. It cited that it needed Rs 86 crore to pay them, inclusive of all benefits.
Last month saw daily collection touching a record Rs 8, 50, 68, 777 on February 19, Rs 7.85 crore on February 17 and Rs 7.22 crore on February 16 as against the average daily collection of Rs 5.5 crore, thanks to the private bus strike. “Out of Rs 5.5 crore daily collection, Rs 3.5 crore is being used debt servicing while Rs 2 crore is utilised for fuel. It leaves nothing for salary payment and pension. The month’s salary has to be paid on the last working day,” the officer said.
As a way out, the KSRTC management is striving hard to get a one-time loan from a consortium of banks and repay all other loans with high interest, including that from the KTDFC (Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation). “This will cut the daily fund needed for loan repayment from the current Rs 3.5 crore to Rs 90 lakh, leaving enough funds to make salary payment. Currently, talks are on, and we hope to sign a pact soon,” the officer said.