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Telangana transport strike: 47,000 may lose jobs as KCR says won’t take protesters back

The unions are demanding a merger of TSRTC with the state government, increase in salaries, better working conditions and more recruitment.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: October 7, 2019 6:54:51 am
Telangana transport strike, TSRTC, Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, transport strike Telangana, Telangana transport strike protest, Telangana protests, Telangana protesters, KCR, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Telangana Chief Minister, India news, Indian Express At a bus station in Hakimpet, Telangana, on Sunday. (ANI)

Amid the strike by the employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) since Saturday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said employees who did not rejoin duty before a deadline set by the government — approximately 47,000 employees — will not be taken back into service, sources said Sunday. The deadline to join duty was 6 pm on Saturday.

The unions are demanding a merger of TSRTC with the state government, increase in salaries, better working conditions and more recruitment.

The Chief Minister on Sunday chaired a meeting with Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar and senior officials. According to an official who attended the meeting, Rao said the unions have “committed a grave mistake by resorting to strike and blackmailing tactics” during the Dussehra season.

The official said Rao ruled out a merger of TSRTC with the government and said there should be a “permanent end to blackmail tactics and indiscipline”.

“The CM categorically said there is no question of taking back employees who did not join duties before the deadline set by the government. He said currently there are less than 1,200 employees in TSRTC. The CM directed that as an immediate measure, 2,500 private buses should be hired and plied so that people are not harassed,’’ the official said.

The 1,200 employees either reported on duty before the deadline or were on deputation to other departments and did not join the strike.

“The CM wanted new employees appointed soon and said recruits should give an undertaking that they won’t join any trade union. It was decided that 50 per cent of buses run by TSRTC would be private buses so that RTC becomes profitable. The CM wants TSRTC to be restored to status quo within 15 days,’’ the official said.

According to the official, KCR had said TSRTC was incurring losses to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore and has Rs 5,000 crore in debt. “In such a bad situation, there is no question of any compromise … The strike is illegal and irresponsible. Now the state should find a permanent solution,” he quoted the Chief Minister as saying.

“In MP, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Manipur, there are no RTCs… When we are taking care so well, is there any need for them to go on strike?” he was quoted as saying. “When the CPM was in power in West Bengal, did they merge RTC with the government? Did they do that in Kerala? BJP is in power in many states, did they merge the RTCs with the governments? Did any Congress governments do it in any state they are ruling?…” the official quoted Rao as saying.

To implement the directives, a panel has been formed and it will submit its proposals on Monday.

Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Assembly M Bhatti Vikramarka slammed Rao for threatening to sack workers who backed the statehood movement. “It is unfortunate that instead of listening to their problems… the CM is threatening to make them jobless. We will launch a statewide protest,’’ he said.

BJP leader Krishna Sagar Rao said Rao did not meet TSRTC leaders even once before taking such “brazen decisions”.

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