Kerala Chief Secretary V.Venu on Wednesday candidly confessed before the Kerala High Court that the State government is going through a severe financial crisis and finding it difficult to garner resources for the day-to-day affairs.

The Chief Secretary who appeared online before the court made the submissions when a contempt of court petition filed by retired KSRTC pensioners for not implementing the court directive to pay pensions in time came up for hearing. The Chief Secretary also apologised for appearing before the court last time as directed by the court as he was busy with the work of Keraleeyam.

The court flayed the Chief Secretary for making the submission that he was participating in the final seminars organised in connection with the Keraleeyam programmes which he said was unprecedented event.

‘Citizens distress, first priority’

The court asked “Is the obligation to court is less or greater than that of a seminar”... if you are celebrating and some people are in distress, your celebration is not very important enough. Please understand that. If one person is in distress in Kerala, that shall be your first lookout, your priority. Keep that in mind,” the court observed.

The court also observed that distress of a few citizens should be sufficient to alert the government and show empathies for them. One could not expect the State government to be in celebrations even when one citizen was in distress. This was something that the State authorities must keep in mind while administering the State.

The court further observed that the stand was that the government would not pay for the pension or salary could not be countenances because such a stand would sound death knell on the operations of the KSRTC. The government intervention was necessary for paying the pension. The court directed the State government to pay the retired employees pension for the month of October by November 30 and to make every endeavour to pay the pensions for the month of November also by November 30.

The Chief Secretary also submitted that the government did not have money to pay the pension for the KSRTC retired employees, a consortium of cooperative institutions had been formed. In fact, the consortium normally takes care of payment to pension. But on account of extraneous circumstances, the pension payment has been disrupted.

Transport Secretary Biju Prabhakar also appeared online in response to a directive of the court.