Nashik: The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has seen a sharp decline in its revenue due to the COVID-19 lockdown, which has stalled the salaries of its employees for three months. Employees are also expected not to get their Diwali bonus this year as the treasury is also seems to be empty.
The ST administration pays a fixed amount to the employees every Diwali as a sanugrah grant (exgratia payment). This amount is paid to the employees along with their salary in the month of Diwali.
Last year, ST employees were given a grant of Rs 2,500 and officers were given a grant of Rs 5,000 along with their salary as a Diwali reward. Exgratia grants are not part of the wage agreement, but as a matter of popularity, the government has a tradition of giving sanugrah grants on Diwali.
The outbreak stopped the wheels of the ST for several months, except for essential services since March. After the unlock, buses are running at full capacity and ST is slowly recovering. However, ST is currently at a loss due to lack of response from passengers. Wages for July and August are still pending due to impact on revenue. Employees will also be deprived of their September salaries due to lack of funds.
Pay salaries first
The pending wages for the last three months has led to starvation among ST workers. There is dissatisfaction among the employees as the ST administration has no provision for salaries. The discussion on the Diwali grant has now started. Against that background, the sentiment is being expressed by the officers and employees that they should give up ex-gratia grants and pay regular salaries.