A day after an employee of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) died by suicide, the Maharashtra government announced aid of Rs 1,000 crore to help the financially-beleaguered transport body get back on track.
State Transport Minister Anil Parab said the financial aid will be used to clear pending salaries of employees as well as invest in the maintenance of buses and create avenues for generation of non-transport revenue.
Manoj Anil Chaudhari, a bus conductor at the Jalgaon depot of MSRTC, had died by suicide on Monday morning. In a suicide note, Chaudhari had blamed the state government and MSRTC for pushing him to take the dire step. The transport body, which has incurred heavy losses due to several months of lockdown, had not paid its employees for three months.
In the wake of the incident, and following strong criticism by opposition leaders, Parab had announced that the transport body will release one month’s salary and festival advance immediately, and another month’s salary will be released before Diwali.
On Tuesday, Parab said that following his meetings with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister and state Finance Minister Ajit Pawar, the government has allotted Rs 1,000 crore as aid to help out the MSRTC for the next six months, as the service was struggling with low occupancy.
“All our services, except emergency ones, were shut for over five months during the lockdown. This caused the MSRTC a revenue loss of Rs 3,000 crore. Due to unavailability of funds, there were pending dues for the payment of salaries, maintenance of buses and refurbishment of bus stations. We have not been able to release salaries for the last three months. On Monday, we released a month’s salary and festival advance for our employees and have promised to release another month’s pay before Diwali. With this package, we will be able to clear the dues and invest some funds in improving the condition of buses and create alternate sources of income from non-transport sources,” said Parab.
With a fleet of 18,000 buses and a history spanning over 70 years, MSRTC is among the biggest public transport utilities in the country.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines