Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 18 September 2021 6.45 AM IST

Drastic measures need to be taken for survival


Forty thousand employees of KSRTC started receiving their August salaries from Thursday. The reason for the delay is the financial crisis of the corporation. It does not have enough money to pay its employees on the first day of the month. As usual, the government paid Rs 80 crore for the distribution of salaries. With the decline in services due to the Covid crisis, even the earlier revenue was lost. Although many services are operating, the revenue is very low. Even though the corporation is somehow managing the fuel expense, it has to find other ways to pay salaries and pensions. The situation wasn't bright even during the period before the Covid crisis.

It is not unusual to think that some drastic measures are necessary to ensure the survival of the KSRTC in the face of the ongoing Covid crisis. The authorities are planning to reduce the number of employees as part of this. With services cut by almost half, there is no need to have as many employees on duty as there are now. It only needs about half the staff. The KSRTC can easily run services with them. Finding around Rs 100 crore every month for salaries has become a huge headache for the corporation. The high officials are considering laying off 50 percent of employees for 1 to 5 years by paying them half the salary. Such a decision can be taken only after submitting the proposal to the government and getting approval. The unions of KSRTC employees must also agree to this. This is a proposal that is likely to invite a lot of opposition. The future will depend on how the government and the unions evaluate the issue. In any case, the fact is that the KSRTC cannot move forward in the current condition. It is also a great burden for the government to provide financial assistance to the corporation, which has been mired in debt and liabilities for some time.

The Covid pandemic came at a time when the corporation was looking for ways to increase revenue and improve new sources of revenue. With that, even the existing income got stopped. Not only KSRTC but also the transport corporations in other states are facing a similar dilemma. But the condition of many of them is not as bad as that of KSRTC. The reality is that in the current situation, the corporation cannot survive without reducing the number of employees. Arrangements should be made for the lay-off employees to return when the condition improves. It is learned that KSRTC chief Biju Prabhakar has already discussed the lay-off proposal with the unions. Employees are well aware of the current crisis facing the transport sector. Although the decline in income is not something that anyone likes, authorities are forced to take drastic measures for the sake of survival of the corporation. Revenue will only increase when the services are fully operational. That is unlikely during the Covid crisis. One can only hope for complete relief from the pandemic as soon as possible.

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