Controversy
Hardening his stand, the Chief Minister announced that only 1,200 employees are now left in the TSRTC.

With the employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continuing their strike, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday night said that there was no question of taking back those who did not join duties before the deadline set by the government.

The Chief Minister announced that only 1,200 employees are now left in TSRTC, even as about 50,000 employees continued their strike for a second consecutive day, paralysing bus services across the state. Terming the strike illegal, the government had asked the employees to report for duty by 6 pm on Saturday, failing which they will lose their jobs.

Hardening his stand, the Chief Minister ruled out merging TSRTC with the government, which is the main demand of the striking employees.

Stating that those who went on strike committed a grave mistake, he said there was no question of any compromise with them. He made it clear that there will be no talks with the striking employees.

"The strike by RTC now is illegal, irresponsible and based on wrong thinking. In states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Manipur, there are no RTCs. They are there nominally in Bihar, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. After Karnataka, large number of buses are being run in Telangana. When we are taking care so well, is there any need for them to go on strike?” the CMO quoted KCR as saying, in a statement.

At a review meeting with top officials, KCR pressed for the appointment of new employees soon. He said the newly-recruited employees should be made to give an undertaking that they would not join any trade union.

KCR also directed the officials to immediately hire and operate 2,500 private buses. There are 4,114 private buses and if they are made into state carriages, they would also come under the TSRTC, he said.

He said a new beginning would be made in the history of TSRTC and it will be turned into a profit-making organisation. He noted that TSRTC is incurring losses to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore and has Rs 5,000 crore debts coupled with the ever rising diesel prices.

It was decided that 50 percent of the buses in TSRTC will be private buses while the remaining will be owned by the public utility.

The Chief Minister believes that if measures are taken in this direction and buses are run efficiently, TSRTC will become profitable in two to three years.

While some took to social media like Twitter to back the government's decision, many protested against it, using the hashtag #IStandWithRTC

 

IANS inputs

Read: As Telangana bus strike continues, authorities seek alternate ways to run services