State road transport corporations seek ₹634 crore to pay salaries till December

They need additional INR3,803 crore to pay pending bills, repay loans, PF, etc.

Citing poor response for their services, the four State road transport corporations (SRTCs) have again approached the government seeking funds to pay salaries. Over 1.25 lakh employees of the SRTCs are yet to receive salaries for October.

In their request to the government, the corporations have expressed inability to pay salaries till December and sought financial help of around INR634 crore. The KSRTC has sought INR202 crore, BMTC needs INR181 crore, NWKRTC INR130 crore and NEKRTC INR120 crore. They have also informed the government about pending bills amounting to INR2,234 crore towards fuel cost, store purchase, retired employees' benefits and PF.

There is pending loan payment of INR1,569 crore towards banks and financial institutions, and borrowing a fresh loan has become a hurdle, they have said. The State government had sanctioned INR1,499 crore for payment of salaries from April to September. The SRTCs have said that it will take more time to see revenue return to pre-COVID-19 levels. "The number of commuters remains low.

Due to various factors, such as closure of schools and colleges, restrictions on public gatherings and work from home, ridership has not yet picked up. We have been making all efforts to convince people that public transport is safe, but it appears that people are still hesitant to travel," an official said. In addition to payment of salaries, a drop in revenue generation has also impacted their ability to meet the operational expenses that include fuel cost and spare parts.

The corporations have claimed that, due to drop in revenue generation, they anticipate a loss of INR861.31 crore between October and December. The State government had directed the SRTCs to cut down expenses and not to go for procurement of new buses. They are being forced to defer scrapping of old buses to augment resources.

"We have got enough buses to meet the existing demand.

There is absolutely no demand for AC buses, and a majority of them continue to remain off the road.

Not inducting new buses is unlikely to pose a problem till March " said an official.

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