On 26th day of strike, Telangana RTC staff vow to continue

Hyderabad: Striking TSRTC employees during a public meeting, in Hyderabad on Oct 30, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Hyderabad, Oct 30 (IANS) On the 26th day of their indefinite strike, employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) on Wednesday vowed to continue their struggle till all their demands are accepted by the government.

Leaders of striking employees, opposition parties and people’s organizations came together on a common platform at the public meeting organized by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC employee unions at Saroornagar here.

Slamming the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) state government for its indifferent attitude towards the problems of the TSRTC, the leaders threatened to intensify the protest by organising a “million march” like the one organised during the movement to achieve statehood for Telangana.

The meeting was attended by a large number of striking employees and their family members from across the state. Tragedy struck the gathering when a driver, who had come from Karimnagar, died of cardiac arrest.

Three employees have committed suicide and six more have died of cardiac arrest during the last 20 days. JAC leaders said the fear of losing their jobs has pushed employees into depression.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had announced that over 48,000 employees have dismissed themselves from service by not joining duty before the expiry of the deadline set by the government. The employees have also not received salaries for September, adding to their hardship.

The speakers at the public meeting targeted the Chief Minister for not bothering to address TSRTC issues despite deaths of many employees.

They disputed Rao’s claim that TSRTC is neck-deep in losses. JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy and other leaders alleged that the government had pushed the TSRTC into losses by levying high taxes and not paying dues owed to the Corporation towards the subsidy given to various categories of commuters.

The politicians, including state Congress vice-president A. Revanth Reddy and BJP’s G. Vivek alleged that Rao was trying to sell away the assets of TSRTC by privatizing it.

Chada Venkat Reddy of the Communist Party of India demanded that the Centre should intervene as thousands of employees were suffering due to the adamant attitude of the state government.

Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) leader M. Kodandaram said they would not hesitate to organizer another “million march” to save the TSRTC.

on Wednesday, the Chief minister held a review meeting on the issue with top officials. They discussed various aspects of the case being heard by the Telangana High Court and the arguments to be put forward by the government when hearing resumes on November 1.

The court on Tuesday pulled up the government for not agreeing to provide Rs 47 crore to address the demands of the employees and end the deadlock when it has announced Rs 100 crore for one constituency.

Rao has announced Rs 100 crore assistance for the Huzurnagar Assembly constituency after the massive victory of the TRS in the by-elections last week.

The court admonished the officials for not placing all the facts and figures with regard to the arrears to be paid by the government to the TSRTC and directed them to submit all the details at the next hearing.

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