Employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continued their strike for the third day Monday, leaving thousands of passengers waiting to travel to other parts of Telangana as well as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the Dussehra holidays stranded.
TSRTC employees have been on strike since Friday midnight after listing out 26 demands, including the merger of the corporation with the government.
On Sunday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had announced that the estimated 47,000 TSRTC employees were deemed as sacked as they had failed to rejoin work by 6 pm on Saturday — the deadline set by the state government. The CM, who is popularly known as KCR, had said that the recruitment of new employees would start to run the buses immediately.
However, there was no move by the government to recruit anyone on Monday. Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar said the state government had plied private buses as well as temporarily hiring a few drivers to drive state government buses. However, many passengers complained on social media that the private buses fleeced them.
KCR’s decision to sack the protesting employees came in for strong criticism from political parties. “Telangana Congress severely condemns CM KCR’s threats to dismiss TSRTC employees. We stand by RTC employees and will participate in their struggles against this dictatorial attitude. We fully support their demand for merger of RTC into the state government,” said state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy.
National Mazdoor Union leaders met BJP leaders, including Telangana BJP chief Dr K Laxman, and submitted a memorandum in protest against the government’s decision. Telangana Mazdoor Union president E Aswathama Reddy said the protesting workers have not been given dismissal notice yet. “We will go to court if the state government goes ahead with its threat of dismissing all the workers. They have a right to protest,” Reddy said.