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Faced with financial problems, Assam State Transport Corporation employees threaten stir

Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) employees have not received their salary for the past two months.

Assam State Transport Corporation

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Sep 2021 2:25 AM GMT

SALARY NOT PAID SINCE TWO MONTHS

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) employees have not received their salary for the past two months. The employees have now threatened that if their pending salaries are not paid by Thursday (September 23), they will launch a stir from Friday.

Talking to The Sentinel, State Transport Workers' Association, Assam general secretary Dwijen Lahkar said, "ASTC employees have not received their salary for July and August. The State Finance Department has not released funds for payment of salary."

Every month, the Corporation needs Rs 6.50 crore to pay the salary of its employees. Out of this, Rs 2.91 crore is given by the State Government and the remaining fund is managed by the Corporation through revenue generation. "Since the last two months, the government has not released Rs 2.91 crore every month. To make matters worse, the Corporation itself has not been able to generate much revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corporation's revenue generation has decreased significantly in the last two years – from around Rs 4 crore to Rs 1 crore," rued Lahkar.

He added that in the last budget it was announced that the fund given by the State Government every month to the ASTC to pay salary would be increased from Rs 2.91 crore to Rs 3.20 crore. "But this fund has also not been released as yet," he said.

The workers' union had met the Chief Minister and the State Finance Minister and urge them to release an additional fund of Rs 9 crore to the ASTC. "The Chief Minister and the State Finance Minister assured us that the additional fund would be released and had even given directions in this regard. However, due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Finance Department and the Principal Secretary of the department, neither has the Rs 9 crore additional fund been released nor has the Rs 2.91 crore – increased to Rs 3.20 crore– that is given every month by the government to the ASTC been released," said Lahkar.

There are 3,200 employees under ASTC, out of which 1,200 are regular and the rest are contractual. The ASTC earns Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore every month from ASTC-operated buses and around Rs 80 lakh per month from buses under ASTC. In addition, the Corporation earns Rs 80 lakh- Rs 1 crore per month from its rented properties and other assets, and Rs 1 crore per month from ASTC buses which are used by oil PSUs.

"During the pandemic, revenue generation from all other sources, except oil PSUs, has been affected," said Lahkar, adding further that due to non-payment of salary, employees were facing financial constraints. "Children of many employees are facing problems in taking admission in educational institutions due to financial issues," he lamented.

Lahkar said that a crucial meeting of the workers' association was held on Monday in the ASTC office in the city, where it was decided that unless the pending salaries were paid by Thursday, they would launch an agitation from Friday.

Also read: ASTC Goes Green! Soon Electric & CNG Powered Buses Will Ply on Guwahati Roads

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