Telangana RTC strike flashpoint: 48K employees face axe

Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao. (File Photo: IANS)

Hyderabad, Oct 7 (IANS) The indefinite strike by employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) entered its third day on Monday as the KCR government refused to hold talk or even take back 48,000 striking employees issuing orders to recruit new employees and hire more private buses.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao late on Sunday declared that there is no question of taking back the employees into the state-owned transport utility, who did not join the duties before Saturday evening deadline that was set by the government.

“Now only 1,200 employees left in TSRTC,” a statement from Chief Minister’s Office quoted him as saying. This means that government has sacked remaining 48,000 odd employees, though the government has not made any such formal announcement.

Nearly 50,000 employees are on strike since Friday midnight to press for their list of 26 demands including merger of TSRTC with the government.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, not only ruled out merger but also refused to hold any talks with the striking employees.

For a third consecutive day majority of 10,500 buses of TSRTC remained off the roads, causing severe inconvenience to commuters during festival season.

TSRTC bus services carry more than a crore commuters every day.

TSRTC authorities were running partial services by deploying hired buses and temporary drivers.

The Chief Minister has asked officials to recruit employees and hire more private buses.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed at Telangana Martyrs’ Memorial at Gun Park near State Assembly when TSRTC employee unions’ leaders reached there to pay their homage. Police arrested the leaders on the grounds that there is no permission for the programme.

Joint Action Committee (JAC) of employee unions took strong exception to the government’s action.

JAC leader Ashwathama Reddy said the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) should know that it is in power due to their sacrifices during the movement for Telangana state. He said they were not scared of arrests and threats by the government.

Meanwhile, the fast planned by striking leaders at Indira Park was called off as the police refused to give permission for the same.

JAC leaders said they would hold a meeting later in the day to chalk out their further course of action.

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