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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 10.24 AM IST

Engineers to be appointed as Zonal General Managers to revamp struggling KSRTC

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KSRTC, supported by government aid is set to introduce four new zonal general managers from the inaugural KAS batch. Sushil Khanna's persistent recommendation to infuse professionalism into the Transport Corporation is finally taking shape, albeit in a limited capacity. Notably, all four appointed officers as General Managers possess engineering backgrounds. While their arrival marks a hopeful start relying solely on them for the colossal task of rescuing the financially crippled corporation might not suffice.

The pivotal responsibility of enhancing performance hinges on restructuring the management framework of the corporation. Regional General Managers will spearhead this task leveraging their technical expertise to streamline operations systematically. Previously, successive heads of the corporation faced systematic dismissal by employee unions, making even minor reforms fiercely contested and eventually abandoned.

The corporation currently grapples with severe financial turmoil necessitating monthly government assistance to cover salaries and pensions. The widening gap between income and expenditure, exacerbated by a burdensome interest load has led to the mortgaging of most immovable properties. Financial institutions are now hesitant to meet the corporation's credit needs. Moreover, compliance with court orders to pay employees by the 5th of every month remains unmet, often requiring prolonged delays even with government funding beyond budget allocations.

Strategic reforms are imperative to extricate the Transport Corporation from its current quagmire. Failure to advance by curbing extravagant costs and devising strategies to reduce liabilities will perpetuate its decline. Despite long-standing efforts to increase daily income to a minimum of eight crore rupees, this target remains unmet. A quarter of the 5,000 buses are useless, causing numerous scheduling delays. Despite having the highest bus fares in the country, lack of professional management remains the primary reason for unprofitable services. The advent of KAS officers as General Managers in regional headquarters should herald some transformation in this scenario.

The long-standing proposal to partition KSRTC into four zones for more efficient administration remains pertinent. The prevailing unitary operational system for the entire state is the root cause of the corporation's weaknesses. Decentralizing governance is crucial for progress. Once territories are managed individually, reform initiatives can be implemented paving the way for a more profitable organization. Modern management trends emphasize achieving operational excellence by fragmenting large entities into smaller units. Many public sector organizations are embracing this approach, and KSRTC stands to benefit significantly by adopting a similar strategy. Full implementation of the sectoral division proposal alongside the appointment of Regional General Managers will substantially benefit the Corporation's prospects.

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