The state-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) moved the Kerala High Court seeking to issue a directive to Popular Front of India (PFI) to pay Rs. 5.06 Crores as compensation for the damages caused to its buses during the flash hartal called by the outfit in the state in protest against the raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its offices and residences of its leaders and the subsequent arrests of its prominent leaders.
The KSRTC, in its petition submitted that on 23rd September, the PFI called for a state-wide hartal without any notice. KSRTC commenced its services as usual on that day as the corporation could not abruptly stop its operation as a large number of people depend on the services of KSRTC. Besides, there was a direction by the State Police that law and order would be ensured. However, the hartal turned violent with the protesters pelting stones at the KSRTC buses smashing the windscreens and damaging the seats of 58 KSRTC buses that conducted the services, injuring ten employees and one passenger, the corporation said in its petition.
“The KSRTC is already struggling to stay afloat with the government’s guidelines and now it has incurred huge losses owing to the damages caused by the protesters, It is pertinent to note that a substantial amount is required to repair the 58 buses which were damaged and when the loss of service of the above buses during the repair time is also calculated, the Corporation will again have to be at the mercy of the State government for financial assistance,” the corporation further says in its petition.
The massive loss incurred by the KSRTC is liable to be recovered from the perpetrators as the same was a result of their activities during an illegal hartal called by them, the corporation contends in its petition.
A detailed list of losses incurred by the corporation has been submitted along with the petition.
Earlier on 23 September, the Kerala High Court had initiated a contempt of court case as the organisation called for a ‘flash hartal’ without giving the 7-day notice, as required according to the previous order of the High Court.