1,243 KSRTC staff do no work. CMD plans to name and shame them with full-page newspaper ads

A caricature done by Malayala Manorama.

There are 1,243 employees in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation who don't work at all, said its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Biju Prabhakar.

The IAS officer's latest revelation comes in the third episode of a five-part series he released Monday on the official Facebook page of KSRTC.

"Once in a while, they come, sign and leave. Their only aim is to receive the pension once they retire," said Prabhakar.

Newspaper ad warning
The CMD has warned of strict action on the idling workers, including naming them in newspaper advertisements.

"Many of them refuse to accept notices. No problem. I'll publish full-page advertisements in newspapers with their names. They will be asked to report on duty and give an explanation and they'll be dismissed," Prabhakar said.

The logo of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. File photo: Manorama

He has a proposition: "Opt for VRS (Voluntary Retirement Service) or face dismissal."

Prabhakar has reiterated that the KSRTC is for the employees and the public who love the organisation. "It is not for those who skip duty. Many employees earn their bread by working here. If some people think they can come once in a while, sign and secure a pension, that's not going to happen."

12-hour spread-over duty
Prabhakar has refuted allegations that the KSRTC was forcing its employees to do 12-hour shifts. "That is a lie," he said. The CMD explained the concept of spread-over duty, which he says is in accordance with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) norms. In a spread-over duty system, an employee is assigned a 12-hour shift that comes with a mandatory rest of four hours in between.

Biju Prabhakar IAS.

Prabhakar has claimed that the employees who set out to defeat his initiatives were spreading rumours about the spread-over duty system. "These are the people who defeated the driver-cum-conductor initiative. It is ok for them that a driver spends 14 hours in a bus driving from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode or 16 to 18 hours to reach Bengaluru. But it is not ok for them to do a 12-hour spread-over duty."

The Karnataka model
According to Prabhakar, KSRTC will take in fresh recruits on a contract basis to improve productivity. He says such a model has proved to be effective in the neighbouring state of Karnataka. "The drivers of many vehicles belonging to the Karnataka Transport Corporation get upto Rs 80,000 and that's mostly from overtime, not just salary.

"I'm not planning to fire anyone. About 1,000 employees are retiring and we're not going to hire permanent staff, instead, there will be hirings on a contract basis. The permanent employees are only going to benefit from this."

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