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?β the CMO quoted KCR as saying, in a statement.
These are the demands of #TSRTC unions- maternity benefit, allowing RTC to start transport of parcel, purchase new buses, fill vacancies, hike the salary which has been due since 30 months etc.β Donita Jose (@DonitaJose) October 6, 2019
Demands which can make this corporation healthy#Telangana#TSRTCStrike pic.twitter.com/ZUT2vVKuv8
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
Salaries of Telagana MLAs are one of the Highest paid in the countryβ Srikanth (@srikanthbjp_) October 6, 2019
βΉ2.5 Lakhs /month + Benefits
But they Don't have money .to pay to RTC employees #iStandwithTSRTC#tsrtcstrike pic.twitter.com/w3ZCC6nR6L
RTC has been the backbone of our Telugu states long before KCR, and it will remain so long after he is gone.#IStandWithTSRTCβ nikrat (@300_126) October 6, 2019
This is completely illegal and inhuman. In solidarity with all employees of #TSRTC .β AICCTU Karnataka (@aicctukar) October 6, 2019
Workers will not watch this silently. We will resist this move of @TelanganaCMO
Workers unity zindabad. @cpimlliberation @Dipankar_cpiml @cpimspeak @kanhaiyakumar @kavita_krishnan https://t.co/6trpdxEtdD
This is very sad. World over Public transport is strengthened. Here, in a city which had only 3800 buses and RTC employees asking for a better TSRTC, @TelanganaCMO decides to sack all of them. We at BBPV stand in solidarity with #TSRTC employees. @HydWatch @CitizensForHyd https://t.co/M4yf6H0HLcβ BusPrayanikaraVedike (@BBPVedike) October 6, 2019
Reasonable demands left unmet, the government agenda seems to be turning over public transit to private interests. https://t.co/EdI1QayZ6Xβ DharmaVirodhi Aditya (@almostinfamous) October 6, 2019