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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightDon't let Kerala's two...

Don't let Kerala's two prestigious organisations die

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Kerala Civil Supplies Corporation known as Supplyco and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) which is a public transport system are two important and prestigious organisations of Kerala. Established with lofty objectives, these two have recently been in the news due to their complex crises. Both these companies have thousands of employees and lakhs of families who depend on them. The crisis was caused by the financial difficulties faced by the government along with mismanagement. But, if the two public services of foodgrain supply and public transport system are cut off for that reason, it will create serious consequences. The Supplyco crisis has created a huge price hike in the consumer state of Kerala which is particularly sharp aggravated by a central government policy of reducing food rations for trivial reasons. The new decision that the state cannot buy foodgrains directly from FCI will also have a rippling effect of further price rise in the Kerala market. An organisation like SupplyCo is essential for interventions there.

Also read: Kerala HC criticises state govt for delay in salary payments to KSRTC staff

The Food Minister himself has openly stated that the government has made arrears of 2500 crores as the main reason for the corporation's crisis. Out of this, 1525 crores is for distribution of subsidised goods in the public market. A grant of Rs 500 crore was demanded by the food department for Supplyco but there is none in the budget. At the same time, the government finds funds for boat races and festivals. Months have passed since Supplyco's popular Maveli stores have run out of stocks of subsidised products. The turnover of subsidised goods was the backbone of Supplyco and Maveli stores. With the disappearance of subsidised products, hundreds of temporary workers who were working in packing, etc. lost their jobs. Supplyco was forced to spend the money earmarked to buy goods on godown rent, staff salaries, and transport costs as the government did not properly allocate funds, which added to the intensity of the crisis. The finance department pointed out the mismanagement by officials and lapses in the submission of accounts and bills as the cause of the crisis. They also point out that central allocation has been withheld due to the non-disclosure of accurate and transparent figures on time.

Also read: Kerala HC stays KSRTC’s decision to cut down ticket concessions for CBSE students

KSRTC is in a position that it has to appeal to the government every month to pay salaries. The government is allocating money too. Still, salary distribution has been made in two installments for months. The matter of the pensioners is in the court. No new buses have been purchased in the last five years. Even the ones purchased, they are under SWIFT company. 113 E-buses allotted to Thiruvananthapuram Corporation through the Smart City project have also been handed over to SWIFT. Apart from this, 50 e-buses were purchased using KIIFB loans. Since there are no new buses, the number of schedules is decreasing. It also affects the Corporation's revenue. Most of the 400 JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) buses that were received years ago have mostly ceased to run. Most of the depots lie mortgaged. The management claims that KSRTC spends more than Rs 250 crore a month. Income, on the other hand, is less than 225 crores. Out of this Rs 80 crores are for salary alone. The management puts forward a proposal that if the single duty system is implemented, the company can be run with one-fourth of the employees and the salary cost can be reduced. Implementation of this reform is easier said than done since the unions have opposed such a proposal as it would hurt the interests of the employees.

Also read: Government to introduce 12-hour single duty system in KSRTC

Supplyco and KSRTC are working in parallel with the private sector in the field of food distribution and public transport. They also perform a great role of saving the people from the exploitation by the private sector. As a service sector, it cannot be a profit-driven system. However, it is not practical to run them on government assistance obtained every month. Plans must be made to find the money to finance the expenses and to be self-sustaining. The government needs to pay serious attention to it. The employees should also be ready to cooperate with such projects by resolving the disadvantageous schemes. The survival of these institutions, which play a crucial role in keeping Kerala a hunger-free state and protecting it from private transport exploitation and environmental pollution, is necessary for the people of Kerala.

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TAGS:KSRTCEditorialSWIFTSupplycosingle duty system
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