On a day two retired employees of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) committed suicide, allegedly over non-receipt of pension for the past four months, the state government on Thursday decided to form a consortium of co-operative banks, which would pay pension to the retired employees, including the dues, till July this year. The KSRTC would sign an agreement with the banks in this regard. Later, the state government would pay back the co-operative banks from its financial aid to the KSRTC.
The KSRTC has been defaulting on pensions for 38,500 retired staff due to severe financial crisis. Trade unions of pensioners, affiliated to all political parties, have been on a war path for the past several months demanding pension dues.
In Thiruvananthapuram, retired KSRTC employee Karunakaran Nadar, 69, consumed poison, while in Wayanad, another retired staff Natesh Babu, 68, was found hanging at a lodge in Sulthan Bathery. Earlier this week, another retired KSRTC employee V Roy, 59, died following lack to money to fund a cardiac surgery.
Trade unions have claimed the crisis has already claimed 15 lives since the present government assumed office 20 months back. KSRTC, which operates 5,000 buses, has 42,000 employees on its rolls and 38,500 on pension rolls.