Cash-strapped RTC offers more for staff

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KSRTC employees may be in for a steep pay hike as the management and the unions have reportedly agreed on revising the wages to bring them on par with other government enterprises.

“After around eight rounds of talks, the management has accepted the main demand of the unions that employees must be paid on par with other government institutions.

Besides a hike in the basic pay, the maximum Death cum Retirement Gratuity (DCRG) will be increased to Rs 7 lakh (from Rs 3.3 lakh) and medical reimbursement limit to Rs 3 lakh (Rs 1.5 lakh earlier).

Also they will be provided with 12 per cent fitment benefits,” a senior official who was part of the deliberations, told the DC.

Currently, KSRTC heavy vehicle drivers get salaries lower than light motor vehicle drivers in other government institutions. While a new light motor vehicle driver in other enterprises gets Rs 14,200 as his starting salary, it takes a KSRTC driver 12 long years to receive the same pay.

“The attrition rate is very high because of the low wages, which have not been revised for some time. The hike will be announced after the Piravom bypoll once it is approved by the government” the official said.

But with the corporation continuing to suffer a monthly loss of nearly Rs 40 crore despite registering a substantial increase in collections, transport experts are wondering how it will meet the additional financial burden of paying its staff more, especially when nearly 40 per cent DA due to the employees is still outstanding.

Corporation cashing in on vacant space

The Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has ventured into new business avenues to shore up its revenue to enable the loss-making enterprise to keep floating.

The corporation is trying to make maximum revenue out of its land infrastructure by setting up shopping complexes and food courts in major bus depots and leasing out vacant shops/ office spaces.

“Shopping complexes are being set up at 59 depots across the state. This has been initiated after we have realized that a lot of vacant spaces are available at the depots.

The last depot where a shopping complex was set up was Katakkada and works are at a final stage in the Nedumangad depot,” a senior KSRTC official said. The latest tender issued was for setting up a facility at Kaseragod depot (March 3 to March 20).

The new measure was initiated at a time when the RTO objected to new ads being pasted on buses, following non-payment of taxes by the contractor. “This has resulted in a loss of a major revenue source.

Besides the authorities have directed to revise timings and chart out new profitable routes so as to maximize revenue collections. The new buses being introduced are also part of the attempt to cut down on operating costs,” he said.

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