The Transport Department on July 14 sought a proposal from the administrator of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Employees Provident Fund to implement the 1998 pension scheme. Two days later, the proposal was withdrawn much to the anguish of the employees. “I am to state that the pension scheme for transport employees was introduced in 1998 and it was stopped from April 1, 2003. In this connection, I request you to send the proposal to implement the pension scheme introduced in 1998 again, to benefit all employees. I request you to furnish the number of employees who will be covered and the amount involved in the implementation of this scheme again,” department letter said. On July 16, a letter had mentioned proposal should be treated as withdrawn.
K Arumuga Nainar, general secretary of the CITU-affiliated TNSTC Workers’ Union said that the government’s move seeking a proposal to revive the pension scheme created a lot of hope among the employees. However, its sudden withdrawal without any reason left the workers disappointed. “It is needless controversy. DMK had promised in its election manifesto to re-introduce the pension scheme, which was first introduced during the Kalaignar government in 1998 and withdrawn in the subsequent Jayalalitha-led government in 2003. It was only a letter seeking a proposal not an order to implement the scheme. We do not know what happened in the two days that led to its withdrawal,” he said.
A union leader in MTC said that at the time of settlement of retirement benefits, the management would take an affidavit from retiring employees, who joined the service after 2003, that they would not file any case seeking pension. “The restoration of the pension scheme will provide social security to transport corporation employees,” he added.