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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Unpaid dues to staff: PRTC facing 100 cases of contempt

Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Patiala, March 19, 2014
First Published: 00:32 IST(19/3/2014) | Last Updated: 00:33 IST(19/3/2014)

While the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) management has been finding it difficult to arrange funds for clearing it’s pending arrears and other dues to its employees, contempt notices from the Punjab and Haryana high court are increasing.

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As per available information, the PRTC has been facing around 100 cases of contempt for not paying the mandatory dues to its employees despite repeated orders of the court.

The PRTC is the first corporation across the state having such huge numbers of contempt cases.

Taking a serious note of the issue, cash-strapped PRTC authorities have now pulled up its socks and focused on making arrangement for the funds to clear its dues after the court strictly ordered it to make the payments before May 7.

It has been estimated that the PRTC needed around `14 crore to clear pending arrears of the complainants in the contempt cases.

The high court on February 23 granted the PRTC authorities two months’ time and a last chance to settle the claims besides making the Punjab government a party in the case by ordering to give more than `45 crore of grant-in-aid to the PRTC for clearing some of its dues.

One of the senior officials of the PRTC said cases were not being  cleared at the stipulated date as ordered by the court due to shortage of funds. “With the non-payment of pending liabilities, the contempt cases have started piling up,” official said.

PRTC’s managing director Bhupinder Singh Rai said they were hopeful of getting pending departmental claims worth `30 crore from the state government before May 7.

“The funds will be managed as we have already got `7 crore from the state government pertaining to departmental claims. We have started clearing the payments to the employees with this money, while all the cases will be dealt responsibly before the hearing in the court”, Singh said.

Other than contempt cases, the PRTC owes around `145 crores to its 4000 retired employees till date as it has failed to clear their dues for the past four years. The amount is increasing with every passing day following its inability to pay the liabilities due to acute shortage of funds.

Presently, the PRTC owes `28 crore of pension commutation, `48 crore to deposit in the GPF trust, `22 crore of gratuity, `23 crore of government provident fund, `8 crore against pending leave encashment cases and over `1 crore of medical bills.

“Though hefty grants are needed to clear the pending liabilities in the form of arrears, pension commutation and the GPF but we have now compiled the seniority list according to which the dues will be cleared in near future”, Bhupinder Singh said.

Meanwhile, they have already written to the state finance department to hand over grant worth `50 crore immediately to clear some of the dues, he informed.

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