The Opposition UDF staged a walkout in the Assembly on Monday against the government’s proposed move to raise the retirement age of employees in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to 60.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the House that the government had not taken a decision on the matter. Replying to the notice for an adjournment motion moved by V.T. Balaram and others, he refuted the charge that the move was a precursor to raising the pension age across the government sector.
Replying to the notice, Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran said the proposal to raise the superannuation age was only one of the recommendations of an expert committee constituted by the government to address the crisis faced by KSRTC. He explained that the panel chaired by Sushil Khanna of the IIT, Kolkata, had suggested that the RTC could save ₹450 crore on payment of superannuation benefits over the next five years if the pension age was increased to 60 years. The amount could be utilised to set up a pension fund.
“It is only a proposal that the government would like to take up for discussion ,” the Minister said.
Accusing the government of using the crisis in the KSRTC to push the proposal through, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the LDF had gone back on its promise to generate more employment for the youth in Kerala.
“PSC appointments have been frozen, vacancies are not reported and no new posts are being created.” Mr. Chennithala said the UDF would launch an agitation if the government went ahead with the proposal.
Moving the motion, Mr. Balaram slammed LDF legislators and youth organisations for their silence on the issue. The UDF members trooped out of the House after Speaker P. Sreeramakrishan turned down the demand for a debate on the issue.