Where did Rs 30 crore go? KSRTC employees to intensify protests over non-payment of salaries

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Transport Employees' Union has decided to intensify their protests against KSRTC over the non-payment of salaries.

The Union had earlier threatened extreme steps including a boycott of duties if salaries are not paid before April 15, 2022 (Vishu).

Though the Kerala government has sanctioned Rs 30 crore to KSRTC for dispersing salaries, the Corporation maintains that it has not received it.

In any case, Rs 30 crore won't even cover half of the amount necessary. The Union estimates that at least Rs 82 crore is needed to meet employees' salaries.

Now, both the Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) and the Centre of Trade Unions (CITU) have called for a strike.

While TDF's general strike is slated to fall on May 6, CITU's indefinite strike will begin on April 28.

In addition to immediate disbursement of salaries, CITU has also demanded the reinstation of employees who were previously part of KSRTC's empanel system.

Earlier, Transport Minister Antony Raju had said that a strike would mean even less money for the debt-ridden KSRTC.

Though the state-owned public transport corporation earned Rs 152 crore in revenue, soaring fuel prices meant that Rs 25 crore was spent on fuel.

This is what further compounded the current situation, the minister had pointed out. Banks are also sapping nearly Rs 1 crore a day from KSRTC from previous arrears.

In response to the unfolding crisis, the Kerala government has also decided to hike bus fares. The development came in view of rising fuel prices in the country.

The minimum charge for bus fares has been hiked from Rs 8 to Rs 10 (for 2.5 km) whereas Rs 1 will be charged for every additional kilometre instead of the previous 90 paise.

The new rates will be effective from May 1, 2022.

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