Bengaluru: Broke STUs have no funds to pay salaries | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: There has been little to cheer this Varamahalakshmi Vratha and Raksha Bandhan for about 1.3 lakh state transport employees and their families as none of the transport corporations — KSRTC, BMTC, NWKRTC and KKRTC — have paid salaries for July as yet.
Salaries are usually credited by the 8th of the month, but state transport undertakings (STUs) say they are strapped for funds and the government is yet to provide financial aid. Employees say they cannot strike work either after the untimely 15-day strike during the second wave fizzled out in April.
Many employees are staring at a bleak future. “We risk our lives working during the pandemic. In fact, we ferried lakhs of people even when the second wave was raging. Several employees died and our family members also contracted Covid. The government should at least give us our salaries on time. How will we celebrate festivals when we don’t even have money for food?” said a BMTC conductor.
Another BMTC employee said: “I have to pay house rent, water and electricity bills and school fees but what can I do if I don’t get my salary? My children asked for new clothes for Varamahalakshmi but I didn’t have the money to buy. We received our June salary at the end of July. Nobody is even ready to lend me money because of this uncertainty.”
Sources say Laxman Savadi used to put pressure on the finance department to release funds for salaries when he was transport minister. New minister B Sriramulu took charge only two weeks ago.
STUs say increasing operational costs due to rising prices of diesel and reduced passenger revenue has hit operations. “We cannot pay salaries without government support. Ticket revenue is only sufficient to purchase diesel,” said a senior official in one STUs. For instance, BMTC’s ridership has reduced from 36 lakh in February 2020 to 18 lakh now.
HV Anantha Subbarao, president of KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation, said: “The government should pay salaries till the financial situation of STUs improves. With the pandemic still around, we cannot expect normal operations anytime soon.”
Sources say Karnataka State Road Transport Employees’ League, led by Kodihalli Chandrashekar, which held the 15-day strike, has also split. Anand, a former employees league leader, said: “More than 2,000 employees were dismissed, 4,000 suspended and 4,000 transferred across the state after the April strike. Many employees are facing hardship due to delayed salaries and Covid. We have quit the league and will decide on a future course of action”.
However, Chandrashekhar said: “Our union is still united and will continue to fight for our employees. We expelled some employees. We have asked the government to disburse July and August salaries without further delay.”


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