Few takers? KCR's ultimatum works as RTC staff to join duty from tomorrow
Hyderabad, Nov 04: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) officials are hopeful striking employees in good numbers would report to duty on Tuesday as the state government's deadline to them to return to work ends on November 5.
There were only a few takers on Sunday as the government's deadline for striking workers to return to duty neared, according to RTC sources. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had on Saturday said the state cabinet decided to allot 5,100 of 10,400 routes to private operators and warned that the other routes would also be given to them if those on strike don't join duty by the midnight of November 5.
The RTC employees continued protests at various places on Monday which is the 31st day of their strike. They sat in front of RTC bus depots and raised slogans in support of the strike. As the RTC tried to run buses as part of alternative its arrangementsin view of the strike, the protesting employees, at some places, attempted to prevent the buses from being operated.
An employee of RTC died of heart attack in Nalgonda district, the staff claimed on Monday. Three employees had allegedly ended their lives and at least five suicide attempts were reported since the strike began on October 5. The Joint Action Committee of TSRTC employees' unions, which is spearheading theindefinite strike, said on Sunday the Telangana government should first hold talks to resolve the issue even as it said the stir would continue.
Reacting to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao setting November 5 as the deadline for TRSTC employees to give up their stir and join duty, TSRTC-JAC leader E Ashwathama Reddy on Sunday alleged he (the chief minister) could not create confidence among workers, rather he is "trying to provoke" them. "Talks should first be held to resolve the issue. It could be a committee of ministers or RTC management... but the Chief Minister is seeking to dictate terms to courts and taking unilateral decisions. Nobody has the right to remove anyone from jobs," he told reporters on Sunday. Ashwathama Reddy had on Saturday said they were planning to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to seek the Centre's intervention in the issue.
In a related development, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar on Sunday said the safety and security of RTC employees who were willing to join duty would be taken care of. All depots are provided with sufficient security, he said and warned that anyone who takes law into their hands would be dealt with firmly.
Employees and workers of TSRTC have been carrying out protest rallies across the state over their demands with political parties and different organisations extending their support. Nearly 48,000 employees and workers had boycotted work and began an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call given by the JAC demanding merger of the RTC with the government, pay revision, recruitment to various posts, among others resulting in state-run buses staying off roads causing inconvenience to commuters.
Ruling out discussions with the agitating unions, Rao had earlier said the 48,000 striking RTC staff had "self-dismissed" themselves, as he also made it clear under no circumstances would the RTC be merged with the government. He had also said the employees stir was illegal as it caused immense inconvenience to the public. The Telangana High Court is currently hearing a bunch of petitions relating to the strike.