The Telangana state government on Thursday held a detailed discussion on the strike by employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and looked at what decision it should take in the present context.
The government, which held a meeting under Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has decided to wait for the High Court's order on Friday, as the court is presently hearing a petition on the privatisation of several RTC bus routes.
On Wednesday, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) leading the strike which includes close to 48,000 workers, said that it is ready to call off the strike, if the government allows them to return to service without any precondition.
"It was also decided to study in detail the TSRTCâ€™s financial position, court decisions and the cases still pending in the court and other related issues. The state government is of the firm opinion that it should provide a permanent solution to the RTC problems with an aim to provide better transportation facilities to the people based on the facts as they exist on the ground," a press release from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) on Thursday stated.
The meeting held at Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad also saw Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Governmentâ€™s Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, and several other senior officials participating in it.
"The TSRTC as on date has debts of over Rs 5,000 crore. It has about Rs 2,000 crore debts and dues to be paid immediately. As per the Provident Fund officialsâ€™ instructions, to pay the September salaries in full to the employees, Rs 240 crore is required. CCS to be paid is Rs 500 crore. Diesel dues are also to be paid. Transport Tax dues are pending for the last two years. New buses should be purchased to replace the 2,600 old buses," the CMO release said.
"In total, to run TSRTC as on date, Rs 640 crore is needed per month. Who will bear this financial burden? The TSRTC has no financial strength to incur this expenditure. Due to economic slowdown, the state government is also not in a position to bear this financial burden. Even if the government extends some financial support, how long can it support? The only option left for the TSRTC is to hike the bus charges. If we increase the fare, people may not be able to use the bus transport," it added.
After the meeting, the state government said that it would take its final decision after the High Court verdict on privatisation of bus routes.