As the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) staff continues its strike, authorities are now looking for alternative measures to maintain services. Around 50,000 employees of TSRTC have gone on indefinite strike since midnight on Friday across Telangana.
The state government is attempting to manage the situation with the help of the private partners by engaging drivers and conductors on a temporary basis.
Speaking to TNM, Vijay Bhaskar, the Adilabad region manager, said that in six depots that fall under the combined three districts, 184 RTC buses and 174 private vehicles have been deployed.
"We have hired temporary drivers and conductors to smooth the operations. We are running buses between all major routes in the area including neighboring districts," he said.
Warangal Regional Manager A Sridhar told TNM that a total of 529 bus services are underway on major routes from Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Khammam.
"Three-hundred and eighty are RTC buses and 221 are from private agencies. We are trying to meet the requirement. There is meagre flow of passengers. Many seem to have postponed their travel plans in light of the situation," he said.
According to reports, the recruitment for the temporary drivers is underway at respective bus depots and they are being given the required demonstration and documents.
CH Venkanna, the Nalgonda regional manager, noted, "All major routes, which include Hyderabad, Devarakonda, Miryalaguda and Suryapet have services. We have taken private drivers as none of 3,500 RTC employees have reported for duty."
According to Venkanna, as many as 483 â€” 280 RTC and 203 private â€” buses are commuting from in and around the Nalgonda region, which has seven depots.
Northern Telangana districts have also been hit with the strike. According to Nizamabad regional manager Soloman Pagidimarri, 328 buses were shuttled by private staff on Saturday. "On Sunday, as of now, we have 414 buses running on major routes. Besides local routes, we are also running buses to Adilabad, Karimanagar, Warangal and Zaheerabad."
However, despite efforts to maintain services through alternate means, passengers are still anxious over reaching their native places for the upcoming Dasara and Batukamma festivals. It has also been reported that hundreds of passengers, including women and children, were stranded at different bus stations due to inadequate services.
As the TSRTC employees sticks firmly to their strike, the Telangana government is dependent on private vehicles. In certain areas, school buses are being used as transportation.
Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was moved in the High Court against the indefinite strike, reports say. On the other hand, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is also conducting a high-level review meeting on the matter. Transportation Minister Puvvada Ajay and several top bureaucrats, along with RTC officials, are attending.