Amid employee strike, cash-strapped MSRTC appoints consultant to suggest financial turnaround, Auto News, ET Auto

The majority of the company’s employees have been on indefinite strike since October 28, seeking to merge the MSRTC with the state government, which will give them the status of government employees and better wages.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has decided to appoint a consultant to study and prepare a financial turnaround for the loss-making company, whose employees have been on strike for 23 days, an official said on Friday.

In a meeting chaired by State Transport Minister Anil Parab at MSRTC headquarters on Thursday, KPMG, a consultancy services company, was appointed to study and suggest ways out of the cash-strapped company of the current financial situation, the official said.

The majority of the company’s employees have been on indefinite strike since October 28, seeking to merge the MSRTC with the state government, which will give them the status of government employees and better wages.

“KPMG has been nominated for a comprehensive study of MSRTC and to suggest various measures for a financial stimulus for the company,” said MSRTC vice president and general manager Shekhar Channe. The consultancy is expected to submit its report before the end of the year, he said.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crown corporation has been going through the worst financial crisis in its history and has had to depend on the government for funds to pay its employees and make other payments. The ongoing strike during the high season of Diwali has worsened the financial situation.

The company’s accumulated losses before the pandemic were around Rs.8,500 crore. But due to losses suffered during the lockdown, the number is expected to reach Rs 12,000 crore by the end of this fiscal year, an official said. The MSRTC is one of the largest state-owned transportation companies in the country, with a fleet of more than 16,000 buses and approximately 93,000 employees, including drivers and conductors. The company used to carry more than 65 lakh passengers per day before the coronavirus outbreak last year.

Previously, the MSRTC had embarked on freight transport by converting its old buses into freight vehicles in order to improve its finances. The service also received a response from in-state and out-of-state goods. Last year, Parab announced a number of other measures such as building private buses at MSRTC workshops, remoulding tires, and servicing private vehicles to refuel at its gas pumps, among others. According to MSRTC officials, with the exception of the freight service, most of these metrics remain on the cards even after several months. P

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Agitation over demands including the company’s merger with the Maharashtra government began on October 28. Shekhar Channe, vice president and general manager of MSRTC, told PTI that 36 buses were operated from 17 locations during the day.


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