Last month, Akhila S Nair, a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Bus conductor, wore a badge to work that read 41st Day of Unpaid Service. Akhila is also a cancer survivor and the sole source of income for her family, which includes children. Marxist retaliation was quick and cruel. They transferred the lady from her home depot to another 50 km away.
Unfortunately for Akhila, she works for a bankrupt public sector service. An estimated ₹6,000 crore of public funds have been used, and the state continues to pay ₹ 100 crores per month on monthly wages and pensions. Ticket collections and other incomes are rarely discussed in public.
It was pointed out that Akhila’s action had brought the government and the corporation into disrepute. Now she has to move away to satisfy the bruised egos of a few politicians and top bureaucrats.
This is what Akhila, the brave lady KSRTC employee had to say.
“There is a big financial crisis, and I cannot even buy medicines. My salary is the only source of income for the family. I am a cancer survivor who spent vast amounts of money on ten years of surgery, chemo, and medication. We (KSRTC workers) keep on working, unsure when we will get our salary.”
KSRTC employees tried to protest with the standard communist tool of total strikes. Brutally, the Marxists declared dies-non, deducted the wages of the protestors, and delayed payments to every employee. Leaders like Kerala Public Works Department (PWD) Minister P A Mohammed Riyas have allegedly threatened and diverted on-duty MGNREGA workers to create the impression that their political rallies were massive.
Allegedly, KSRTC workers soon understood that Pinarayism (authoritarianism) had replaced Marxism in Kerala. It is accused Kerala government employees are banned from protesting the ruling communist regime’s anti-labor diktats. Other state govt workers have been transferred for similar ‘offenses,’ i.e., criticizing the government.
Akhila did not blame but instead demanded fair wages on time. KSRTC workers protested peacefully without disturbing the passengers or disrupting their duty. This was when the desperate used the 41st Day of Unpaid Service badge of dishonor.
Akhila has been a KSRTC employee for thirteen years. Her home is at Vaikom in the Kottayam district, and though she has to travel, she is deployed at the Vaikom KSRTC depot itself. This means, time permitted, she can reach home every time. Some workers are forced to do double duties; some do two twelve-hour non-stop shifts! Half-asleep drivers cause terrible accidents almost every day.
For the former cancer patient’s peaceful protest for not receiving her well-earned wages, Akhila has been transferred to the Pala unit. Pala is fifty kilometers away from Vaikom. Once there, she might be forced into pathetic dormitories that the run-down corporation manages. More importantly, she will also miss out on her family.
Akhila said her protest “was not meant to annoy or defame anyone personally. Bills need to be paid, which wouldn’t be without the salary.” She added she waited till the 10th and protested on the 11th, asking for her previous month’s wages. Workers are forced to beg each month before the communist regime sanctions it.
“A novel protest was used without bothering anyone or making a big fuss. There were protests like pelting stones and setting fire to the bus, but we did not choose any of these. We protested while doing our duty properly,” she said. Is violence the only option left for peaceful Hindu workers?
Akhila added that there is no hesitation in shifting. “We are willing to work at any depot while joining KSRTC. There is no doubt about it. But it is difficult because it is a punishment transfer for protesting,” Akhila clarified.
Social media wondered whether humanity and Marxism could co-exist. Some journalists and eminent personalities came forward to offer her help. They reminded Akhila not to let go of her struggles. Thousands of KSRTC workers would have felt proud of Akhila’s fight back. There are an estimated 28,000.
Last heard Transport Minister Raju canceled Akhila’s punishment transfer. Raju informed this decision after facing widespread complaints. That did not prevent the Marxist regime from justifying their action against the vulnerable Hindu lady.
Regular shuttle trips to rural routes and 24 hours of uninterrupted public transport services meant citizens spent less time driving their vehicles. Even if one forgets the footprints we create, recent petrol price hikes do not inspire confidence. Some KSRTC employees have acted rough against customers (communists justified that unpaid workers revolt). Yet, socialist Keralites have encouraged and appreciated its service by patronizing KSTRC rides forgetting the private comfort operators provide.
Though KSRTC earns crores daily, benefits do not trickle down to the social class. Workers are left with no choice but to work long hours and wait for the High Court to intervene and order the govt to pay wages. These employees are now handed punishment transfers when they protest peacefully without neglecting their duty.
That a lady cancer patient has to work in rickety buses that move all day across pathetic roads speaks volumes about how wretchedly Kerala communists treat their proletariat. Anyone can empathize with the remarkable and unimaginable torture she might have gone through.
While Riyas blames changes in the rain pattern, Vigilance Department alleges road construction without using enough recommended raw materials. Citizens have pointed out that roads in Cherrapunji/Mawsynram do not suffer a similar fate.
Last year, the Kerala High Court came down heavily on KSRTC management and reprimanded it for allowing 2800 KSRTC buses, totaling ₹ 700 crores, to rust. No further action was initiated by either Antony Raju, Kerala’s Minister for Transport, or the court. Allegedly, Raju is just a dummy, and Riyas remote controls KSRTC assets.
The communist regime raised petrol & diesel prices in Kerala this April, now costing around ₹ 110 & 100. It costs 94 & 84 in Mahe, on the Kozhikode/Kannur border. Karnataka charges 102 & 88 while Tamil Nadu sells at 103 & 95. The rush near petrol pumps on the Kerala-Karnataka/ Tamil Nadu border and Mahe suggest Kerala might lose expected raised taxes. KSRTC has been hit pretty hard and now relies on some credit from fuel pumps near Mahe, Karnataka, etc. might provide.
Public services have to be offset against environmental costs. Kerala state only scraps diesel vehicles but does not add sustainable green transport vehicles like electric buses. For some strange reason, neither the Kerala communists nor their Congress MPs in Delhi lobbies with Nitin Gadkari Bharat’s Minister of Road Transport and Highways.
Some electric buses have arrived courtesy of the central government’s Fame India Scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles). History shows us that KSRTC management will wreck them in record time. KSRTC has white elephants and lacks proper infrastructure. Any addition to the existing fleet will be futile.
Nepotism, Corruption & Appeasement Politics
On-Duty Muslim drivers stop their vehicles after the Ramzan fasting time ends, and travelers must wait for them to return. They also enjoy several secular schemes run by the communists that exclude a majority of Hindus.
HinduPost reported that KSRTC bore the brunt of the banned terror outfit Popular Front of India’s (PFI) violence when their leaders were arrested in September 2022. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered Kerala police not to show any haste in clamping down on these terrorists. Ultimately, the courts had to intervene, attach terrorist properties and compensate the KSRTC. Attachments did happen, but the compensation might take years if not decades.
KSRTC owns prime real estate properties right in the middle of most towns and cities in Kerala. Dark forces have tried hard to usurp them, and the government has offered the same on a platter mentioning the financial crisis. Allegedly, Riyas ensured that the vast and vacant KSRTC bus terminal-cum-shopping complex in Kozhikode city was leased to his relatives for a pittance.
That property remains with the state due to sheer luck. P. Alagusundaramoorthy, Professor of Structural Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras), informed that over 90% of its pillars, 80% of beams, and 18 slabs of the building were ‘very’ weak. Around ₹30 crores would have to be spent on strengthening the building. It took around 10 yrs to complete, reportedly cost ₹ 75 crores, and remains unused to date.
In August 2022, the communist regime informed the High Court that the Kerala government was not liable to pay the wages and pensions of KSRTC workers. This week the Marxist regime declared that 17.5 percent of KSRTC buses are not conducting service. Management admitted KSRTC is still following a decades-old duty system, leading to reduced productivity and recurring disputes. The KSRTC workshops are outdated, and the workers are against adopting new reforms.
Having destroyed KSRTC, the Marxist regime created Swift Limited, a Private Limited State Government Company incorporated on 09 Nov 2021. Did the same ones who preach Marxism stealthily choose privatization? By transferring KSRTC assets and pushing out existing employees, a few communists have allegedly big selfish plans for their future. Those select few who have together invested just one crore should benefit.
Will they succeed, or can Keralites save their public transport system?
Since Akhila was a Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) Union member, far-left Kerala media muted that she is a cancer survivor and refused to report her plight. Keralite feminists, labor activists, and liberals deserted the lady victim.