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West Bengal to offer early separation scheme to 1,000 transport employees

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government is planning to offer an early separation scheme to around 1,000 employees at the five transport undertakings owned and managed by the State government.

An amount of Rs. 100 crore is proposed to be allotted towards this.

Transport Minister Ranjit Kundu said that comprising around eight per cent of the total workforce, these workers were mainly the drivers, the conductors and the mechanics.

“The State will take this proposal forward only after further discussions,” he said adding that “the government has already held a round of talks on this matter with the trade unions.”

Elaborating, he said that these were primarily employees who were suffering from poor eyesight or failing health or were generally unfit to continue with their present responsibilities. Aside from this, two other criteria would also be taken into account — the number of years put in service and the number of years left.

Survey

The Minister said that management consultants Deloite Tomahatsu Touche had conducted a survey which threw up the figure for redundant workforce.

The funds would be made available by British Government agency, Department for International Development (DFID).

He said that further discussions would be held before rolling out the process.

It may be mentioned that the State government has already implemented, with help from DFID, a two-phase restructuring of its State industrial enterprises and some of them have achieved a turnaround in their performance.

There are five transport undertakings under the State government. Of these, the largest the Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) is a 50-year-old undertaking running a fleet of 1,073 buses. Around 67 per cent of its total cost is on account of salary. CSTC incurred a Rs. 101.7 crore operating loss in 2008-09, according to the latest Economic Review.

Cumulative losses

The statistical appendix to the review said that the cumulative losses of the five undertakings stood at Rs. 2,345.1 crore at March 2009 with the Calcutta Tramways Corporation being the biggest loser with losses to the tune of Rs 195.2 crore in a single year.

The total employee strength, according to the appendix, was 21,750.

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