Thiruvananthapuram: The KSRTC’s plan to avail of a loan of Rs 3,350-crore from a consortium of banks has run into trouble as Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is involved in a multi-crore loan fraud, is a member of the consortium led by the State Bank of India. The KSRTC management is not sure whether the PNB would provide its share of Rs 750 crore. There are plans to approach another bank to overcome the problem, sources said. The PNB has asked for more clarity on the utilisation of the loan and chief secretary Paul Antony would hold discussions with the bank, sources said.
An option before the government is to increase the pension age of KSRTC employees from the present 58 years to 60. The government will be able to save Rs 200 crore per year by raising the retirement age. Around 2,000 persons retire annually from the corporation that currently has 44,500 staff members. Out of them, 35,000 are permanent and the rest contract staff. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who favoured the plan, put up a proposal in this regard at the LDF meeting on Friday and asked the allies to give their opinions before the next cabinet meeting on March 14.
A proposal from transport minister A.K. Saseendran was circulated to all the allies. If they approve it, the government will go ahead with the retirement age revision. The Sushil Khanna committee that studied the issues faced by the KSRTC had also suggested increasing the pension age.
As per the norms finalised by the finance department, the Rs 3,350- crore loan from a 12-bank consortium will have a repayment period of 20 years with nine percent interest. This could be used to restructure the Rs 2,996-crore loans taken from banks and other financial institutions., Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation, district cooperative banks and other financial institutions over the years and take steps to improve the KSRTC’s operations....