Kashmir Chief Minister ready to release the pending salaries of SRTC employees

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday said he was ready to release the pending salaries of SRTC employees but the Sixth Pay Commission benefits would accrue to them only if the Corporation is made a profit-earning one. “I am ready to release the pending salaries of employees of SRTC. As for the Sixth Pay Commission, they (employees) can only get benefits if the Corporation is made profit earning. How can we give them the Sixth Pay Commission benefits, when Corporation is a loss-registering one,” Omar said, while replying to a query during a press conference in Jammu.

Reacting to the Chief Minister’s statement, SRTC employees said if government was managing the “huge loss-registering Power Development Corporation, why cant it manage SRTC”. Talking to Rising Kashmir, chairman SRTC Workers’ Association, Shakeel Ahmad Kuchay said they welcome CM’s statement but why does the government forget that they run dozens of loss-registering PSUs.

“We are not a lone corporation running on loss. I also want to make it clear that we are not a PSU. We come under the Central Act 1950. The PSUs are governed by the Industries Act and we don’t fall in that category,” Kuchay said. “Why does the government forget that it was managing the salaries of scores of PDC employees. The PDC manages mere Rs 600 crore revenue a year, against its total requirement of Rs 2100 crore.”

Kuchay said the government should make it clear whether it considers SRTC a PSU or anything else. “Government should bring an ordinance in the assembly to amend that we don’t come under the Central RTC Act 1950. Why is government mum on this important point,” he asked.The chairman of SRTC Workers’ Union said if India was managing RTCs in its 26 States, why such disparity with SRTC. “Delhi Transport Corporation was provided financial support of Rs 1224 crore and Himachal Transport Corporation Rs 160 crore. We were provided just Rs 13 crore, of which Rs 5.5 crore were taken back on the pretext of Motor Vehicle Tax,” Kuchay said.

On whether they were ready for the golden handshake as offered by the government, Kuchay said they would accept the offer only if it is given on the pattern of the employees of All India Transport Federation.Kuchay said all SRTC employees, who are presently camping near Jammu railway station, will go for the Secretariat gherao on Thursday. “We came to Jammu by foot. We won’t go back unless the issue is resolved. We played all cards to build pressure on the government and even burnt the books of our children, but the government acted as mute spectator,” he said. “We have put our everything on stake and can’t go back to Srinagar empty hands.”

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