Protests
According to reports, 15 retired employees have taken their lives; CM Pinarayi Vijayan has convened an urgent meeting.
Image Courtesy: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called for an urgent meeting after two former employees of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) committed suicide on Thursday.

The CM called for an immediate meeting with the top officers in the Transport Department and the KSRTC in Thiruvananthapuram. It is also reported that Transport Minister AK Saseendran will also be attending the meeting.

According to Manorama, at least 15 employees have now committed suicide, but the state government has not so far rolled out any relief measures. Though an earlier meeting convened by the CM had decided to release six months pension by taking funds of Rs 284 crore from the Corporation Department, the meeting did not see any result.

The deceased have been identified as Natesh Babu from Wayanad and Karunakaran Nair from Thiruvananthapuram. Babu reportedly hanged himself in a lodge in Wayand; he had retired as a superintendent at the Batheri depot. Karunakaran Nair consumed poison and was admitted in the Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, but he died on Thursday morning, reports Manorama.

Employees of KSRTC have been on strike since last year for they stopped receiving their pension. The pensions stopped coming in September and strike started in November last year.

Close to 38,860 retired employees of the Corporation have been protesting, demanding the government release their pension. The protestors have blocked the roads and marched towards the Secretariat in the past.

KSRTC operates on an average, 5,784 services in a day. The daily revenue from these operations comes around to Rs 170 crore. 

In a month, the amount to be paid as salary for the permanent employees is Rs 65 crore, while it requires Rs 7 to 8 crore to be paid as wages for employees who have been hired on a temporary basis.