Thiruvananthapuram: Another pensioner of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) who was hoping to receive his pension arrears, died this week, bringing into focus the financial woes of the Kerala state government.
KSRTC pensioners have not received their pension payments for several months; some have been waiting for nearly six months.
KSRTC has nearly 39,000 retired staff members who have been protesting for the past three months over lack of pension payments. Six have reportedly committed suicide over the last five months.
On Tuesday, another KSRTC pensioner, 50-year-old V. Roy, passed away at Elankunnapuzha near Kochi, following a heart attack.
Roy had worked with the KSRTC for 34 years and had a heart condition. The stoppage of pension payments owing to the state government’s financial constraints prevented him from getting proper medical treatment.
His relatives were quoted as saying that he had retired from service three years ago, and that he was yet to receive some of the financial benefits due to him on his superannuation.
When his heart condition grew worse, doctors advised surgery. The family, however, could not afford the Rs150,000 (Dh8,569) required for the operation and postponed it. He then sought ayurvedic treatment, but after a while that too was stopped.
Kerala finance minister T.M. Thomas Isaac assured people in his recent state budget that KSRTC would be provided a lifeline of Rs10 billion, but after several broken promises about restructuring the corporation, there are only a few who are optimistic they will get their funds soon.