Thiruvananthapuram: Pensioners of loss making Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Thursday called off their protest over hold up in the payments after the state government assured to clear all arrears at the earliest.
The government also informed that it would clear the pension arrears of KSRTC's former employees within Wednesday.
The assurance was made during talks held here by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan with representatives of KSRTC pensioners, who have been protesting in front of the state secretariat for the past few days, an official release said.
The development came after two former employees of the KSRTC committed suicide allegedly due to problems faced by them following non-payment of pension. While Karunakaran Nair of Nemom consumed some poisonous substance and died on Wednesday night, Natesh Babu from Thalassery hanged himself in a lodge at Waynad, the police said.
There are about 40,000 pensioners in the KSRTC and their pensions have been held up by the corporation due to the severe financial crisis faced by it. The opposition Congress-led UDF had recently alleged in the state assembly that at least 10 retired KSRTC employees had committed suicide in the last 20 months due to irregular pension payment under the LDF rule.
The claim was made by the opposition front as it sought to move an adjournment motion to discuss the hardship faced by the families of the pensioners.
The meeting convened by Pinarayi was also attended by transport minister A K Saseendran, principal secretary of transport K R Jyotilal, KSRTC managing director A Hemachandran, and KSRTC pensioners organization members.
It said the government has decided to disburse the pension through cooperative banks.
A consortium of cooperative banks, the KSRTC and the government have signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard, the release said.
Considering the difficult situation now (faced by the corporation), the necessary funds would be given by the government to KSTRC, it added.
Earlier, the state government had filed an affidavit before the High Court saying that it would prepare guidelines to clear the pension arrears.
An amount of Rs 600 crore needed for this would be raised as loans from cooperative banks.
The court had earlier asked the government to file an affidavit regarding the procedures it would adopt to pay the arrears.
(With inputs from PTI)