Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has been in the throes of a financial crisis for long. Till recently, the retired employees found it difficult to get pension on time. Now as Kerala marks Vishu, which heralds a new year as per the traditional calendar, there is no good news yet for the pensioners.
The former employees of the public transporter have not received pensions in April too even though a couple of festivals are celebrated this month.
Pensions are normally given away before the fifth day of every month.
A month’s pension for 36,000 retired employees comes to Rs 62 crore. Last year the government sought the help of cooperative bank consortiums after a month's delay led to widespread protests. The government had promised to repay the banks with interest. KSRTC pensions were delayed for two weeks last month too.
The financial crunch persists as banks are not in a position to lend the KSRTC or the state government any more. Bank authorities say state government took away its funds, leaving nothing to lend the KSRTC. The loans extended by the government for welfare pensions have ran even cooperative banks dry.
Government had borrowed Rs 3,000 crore from cooperative banks to give welfare pensions. This created a cash crunch for KSRTC loan. Banks were promised last month’s returns from government, but that too was delayed.
KSRTC management believes they can pay the dues in a week. The delay has, however, put many ex-employees in a spot of bother around Vishu, which finds more fervour in the northern districts of the state.