Hyderabad: The indefinite strike by unions of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continued for the fourth day on Tuesday even as Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao termed the agitating staff as being "self-dismissed".
With nearly 50,000 employees boycotting duties and state-run buses staying off roads, commuters specially Dasara travellers faced problems, though the RTC said it has taken measures to ensure that passengers needs are fulfilled and they do not suffer and around 11,000 vehicles including buses were being operated. The RTC said it was constantly reviewing and monitoring the situation.
Different employees and workers unions of TSRTC began an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telanganaon a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC, demanding merger of the RTC with the government, recruitment to various posts,among others. Taking a tough stand on the RTC unions strike, the Chief Minister had also made it very clear that under no circumstances the RTC will be merged into the government.
According to an official release, after a review meeting on Monday,KCR, as the Chief Minister is also referred to as, had said: "From the point of view of the government and RTC, the employees are only 1,200. There is no need for the government to dismiss others. Nobody dismissed anybody. They left all by themselves."
"As they did not report to duties before the expiry of the deadline, they have self-dismissed themselves. They did not respond to the appeals made by the government and RTC," he had further said. KCR had also asked the DGP M Mahendar Reddy to form special teams to prevent RTC employees who left the organisation from creating disturbances at bus depots or bus stations.
However, Telangana Mazdoor Union president E Ashwathama Reddy said the government's decision to sack about 48,000 agitating employees, would be challenged as and when they are served with dismissal notices. The Chief Minister also made it clear that the state government has no interest in totally privatising the RTC and the RTC as an organisation would definitely stay.
He said it was aim of the government to see to it that people should not be subjected to inconvenience and hence the government was making all measures to strengthen the RTC and make it profitable. As on date the RTC has 10,400 buses. Of this, 50 per cent buses, i.e. 5,200 belong to the RTC and they will be under RTC. Thirty per cent of the buses, i.e. 3,100 were taken on hire and they also should be run under RTC supervision and administration.
Another 20 per cent of the buses-- 2,100 belong totally to the private and they will be allowed to ply as the state carriages, the Chief Minister had said. BJP Telangana State chief spokesperson, K Krishna Saagar Rao in a release said the party "strongly believes that there's a well thought-out plan behind the brazenness of dismissing 48,000 employees of RTC byKCR."
TSRTC has very valuable assets in the form of high value lands across the length and breadth of the state. The BJP is of the view, that in the guise of a failed and a loss-making enterprise, the RTC will be undersized and eventually merged with the state government, he said.