Availing loans from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) to purchase 1,000 buses for the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will lead the State transport undertaking to “anarchy and debt again”, the KSRTC Chairman and Managing Director Tomin J. Thachankary has said.
“None of the services being operated by the KSRTC now is profitable. The employee-bus ratio is nine. The loss will only mount if new buses are added to the fleet,” Mr. Thachankary said in a letter to the 45,000 employees of the KSRTC in the wake of the proposed stir by the trade unions from July 24.
Around 1000 buses on an average were not being operated daily due to lack of personnel. The priority was to make available crew for the buses and to revamp the schedules scientifically, he said.
“Availing KIIFB funds without doing any ground work will lead the KSRTC into debt and anarchy. KIIFB has been informed that the loan sanctioned to KSRTC can be availed after six months,” the CMD said.
The KSRTC needs around Rs. 500 crore for paying the loan and insurance premium instalment, deducted from the salary of employees and used by the Corporation, to banks, financial institutions and insurance firms.
Still, the salary of employees was being paid with the support of government, the CMD said.
No employee had been dismissed unnecessarily from the service during the past two-and-a-half months. But, some had to be shown the door on the basis of the Supreme Court directive.
The management had not taken any step to curtail the rights of the employees to agitate. Instead, curbs were enforced on slogan shouting and taking out dharna during office hours as they disrupted work.
“This is the policy of the ruling government and the High Court had welcomed it.”
Mr. Thachankary said the final report of Sushil Khanna was yet to reach the government. The preliminary report had asked for closing down of uneconomical bus depots.
Around 35 depots were operating only 50 buses and the office expenses were coming to Rs. 69 crore annually. Turning them into operating centres and shifting staff to nearby depot were the solutions.
Listing out the wrong practices being followed over the years, the CMD had pointed out that these were the hindrances in paying salary and effecting salary revision.
“Destroying the unions is not the policy of the management. But, everyone should be aware of their rights and powers,” Mr. Thachankary said.
Interference of the trade unions would not be entertained. Earlier managements succumbing to trade unions had led to the crisis in KSRTC, he said.
The six-page letter, written by Mr. Thachankary, listed out the 10 major achievements of the KSRTC like BEV bus, Fly bus during the last 84 days after he took over the reins.
United effort of the employees could pull out the KSRTC from the red, the CMD said.
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