Ensure Subh Yatra for KSRTC, Says HC
KOCHI: Asking the state government whether the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation should be made a company, the Kerala High Court on Thursday held that the government should think of introducing structural changes in the corporation for reviving it.
Justice C K Abdul Rehim also held that the government should take note of its obligations/powers to monitor, supervise, take control and even supersede KSRTC. Chapter V of the Road Transport Corporation Act, especially under Section 34 to 38, stated the obligations of the state regarding the issue. The court directed the Secretary of the Transport Department to file a detailed affidavit on the policy decisions, if any, within a month to take remedial measures for making it function in a viable manner.
The court issued the order on a batch of petitions against the non-payment of pension to retired employees. Despite repeated orders, the corporation had not paid the monthly pension for the month of June and July 2014 citing acute financial crisis.
The court observed that even if the government is of the opinion that the maintenance of KSRTC was needed to keep its social welfare activities to cater to the needs of the travelling public, it cannot go on providing funds to the agency, which can only be paid from the exchequer at the cost of the tax payers.
Hence, it was absolutely necessary for the government to formulate policies to find out a viable revival or rehabilitation of the corporation for which some drastic decision was required on a war-footing.
The court observed that apart from the non-payment of pension, KSRTC was incurring a huge loss on a recurring basis. ‘’It may not be possible for the government to provide financial support to the corporation to make out the entire deficit accumulated month after month,” it said. The Advocate-General submitted before the court that the government had decided to implement a revival package. The AG also promised that the government will take up the matter with utmost seriousness and will come out with some concrete solutions. The Corporation required `37 cr a month for disbursing pension which was affecting its financial viability. The LIC had presented a package for providing a pension fund out of a corpus to be created and `500 crore was to be paid during the current fiscal and thereafter `480 cr for the next 12 years. The corporation submitted that the decision to create a corpus fund by mutual contribution from the government and the corporation at a rate of `240 cr each did not work out.