Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday rapped the State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for the recurring delays in disbursing salaries to its employees.
The HC, in an interim order, directed the KSRTC to pay salaries by the fifth of every month. It said the matter of repayment of the loan could wait until the disbursal of monthly salaries is in order.
The court has also asked the government to ensure that this is followed. The development comes in wake of strong protests by KSRTC employee unions.
On Monday, the employees affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) laid siege to the KSRTC head office in Thiruvananthapuram, preventing employees from going about their tasks.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) too have lent support to the protest.
The intensifying protests have stirred the KSRTC management to begin disbursal of salary for the month of May, which has been delayed so far.
According to them, the drivers and conductors will be paid first.
Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju has called for another round of talks on June 27 to find a resolution to the crisis.
However, with coffers running dry, the debt-ridden transporter is once again forced to seek assistance from the State Finance Department.
The CITU had made clear that continued reliance on the government to meet salary expenses will not bode well for KSRTC.
Earlier, the State's Finance Department had approved Rs 30 crore to KSRTC for clearing salary dues. This is less than half of what the KSRTC MD had requested: Rs 65 crore.
But even Rs 65 crore is not enough to pay the employee salaries. According to reports, the Corporation needs at least Rs 80 crore for salary disbursal each month.
With the number of passengers dwindling over the years and fuel prices soaring, KSRTC's monthly revenue is insufficient to even meet running costs.