The Kerala High Court, few days ago had suggested a closure of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation if it was not profitable.
The Court had observed that the service was of no use to the people while considering a batch of petitions filed by retired employees challenging the delay in dispensing pension and dearness allowance to them. The High Court later asked the government to transform it into a company with private participation to make it more profitable. It has urged the government and the Corporation to find a remedy to solve the crisis being faced by the KSRTC on an emergency basis. Following the Court’s orders, the state finance department has agreed to extend Rs 240 crore to the KSRTC as a revival package in a meeting involving the chief minister, finance minister and transport minister. Additional cess would also be introduced on tickets above Rs 15 in order to mobilise funds for the public sector corporation, which is having roughly 41,000 employees and 37,000 pensioners. A portion of the cess will be utilized for the group accident insurance of the passengers.
The governments in power have not been able to transform the fate KSRTC. The crisis deepens with the condition deteriorating faster than ever. The idea of handing over the key to the private buses is also not feasible. Increasing ticket fares and the limited number of bus routes since they are less profitable are all factors which pose a problem. Passengers too, wouldn’t be getting a decent service as in KSRTC especially during the hartal days. 6083 buses with 35, 000 permanent employees and 9801 empanals provide a remarkable service to the passengers compared with profit-minded private bus owners.
KSRTC, is currently reeling under a heavy financial crisis and faces a monthly loss of Rs 90 crore. It has an average monthly revenue of Rs 144 crore, but the monthly expenditure amounts to Rs 234 crore. It also requires Rs 486 crore for disbursing pension in 2014-15. In such a situation, profound steps should be taken to curb the losses and craft out ways to make it profitable thereby reviving the KSRTC instead of pandering to the petty political interests and trade unionism.