Kerala CM summons MD Biju Prabhakar; KSRTC to undergo major revamp at the helm

A meeting will be convened today evening to decide on the introduction of K-SWIFT, a new company focussing on long-distance travelling
Kerala CM summons MD Biju Prabhakar; KSRTC to undergo major revamp at the helm

Amidst the rift between the MD and the trade unions in KSRTC, the Transport Department has approved the report submitted by MD Biju Prabhakar for the complete makeover at the helm of the KSRTC management. The move includes offering voluntary retirement to the executive directors and providing expert training to those who wish to continue. A revamped top management team will be constituted by hiring experts. The remodeling procedures will be completely based on recommendations of the Sushil Khanna report.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reportedly instructed the KSRTC MD to avoid making any controversial remarks. However, the CM has extended his support to the reform process.

The MD had earlier claimed that the corporation would get financial help only by forming the online clearance mechanism SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Fast and Transparent Clearance). Biju envisages the mechanism to help long-distance travelling, and it would dissolve with KSRTC after a decade. KSRTC SWIFT is a new company focussing on long-distance travelling, and KIIFB has allotted Rs 359 crore for buying new buses for the same. The company will procure 310 CNG, 100 Diesel, 50 Electric, 190 KURTC, and 237 more buses including Scania Volvo.

Today evening, a meeting will be convened to decide on the introduction of K-SWIFT. While CITU guarantees that it will accept K-Swift with conditions, neither the AITUC nor the opposition organizations agree on the matter.

For the last ten years, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has been under the grip of a front named ‘Triple Front’ formed by the employees. Executive Director KM Sreekumar is the leader of the Triple Front’ and Sharaf Mohammed is also another leader. An investigation underway to check the irregularities in KSRTC during the 2012- 2015 period. The departmental robe will continue while the Vigilance inquiry will happen against the then directors of KSRTC. During this period, two union leaders from the opposition trade union were members of the board of directors.

While addressing the media on Saturday, the MD alleged major irregularities in KSRTC and claimed that nearly Rs 100 Crore was missing during 2012-2015. He further said that actions would be taken against KM Sreekumar and the then Executive Director PM Sharaf Muhammed.

Biju added that the transport corporation was going through a major financial crisis and the decision to sell and lease KSRTC-owned lands was to overcome the severe situation. The MD said that the decision to lease Vikas Bhavan Depot to KIIFB was transparent. “None of the employees will be fired, but the number of people will be reduced,” he said. As a measure to revive the reeling KSRTC, in the first phase, the number of employees will be reduced to 22,000 and then to 15,000 and later to 10,000.

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