Two more retired employees of KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) committed suicide over alleged non-receipt of pension since last four months, taking the casualties to 15 as per reports. Following the incident, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called for an urgent meeting to form a consortium of co-operative banks, which would pay pension to the retired employees including the 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 of money to fund a cardiac surgery. As per reports, at least 15 retired employees of KSRTC have committed suicide till now.
The KSRTC has been defaulting on pensions for 38,500 retired staff due to the severe financial crisis. Trade unions of pensioners, affiliated to all political parties, have been on a warpath for the past several months demanding pension dues. The pensions stopped coming from September 2017 and the strike started in November last year.
Amidst all this, Kerala Assembly Speaker came under fire for billing the Exchequer for an expensive pair of glasses even as the government struggles to pay the pension for KSRTC employees. The RTI activist had accused the MLAs of extravagant expenses even as KSRTC struggles to pay pension and compensation to endosulfan victims. KSRTC, which operates 5,000 buses, has 42,000 employees on its rolls and 38,500 on pension rolls.