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People attend rally Sakalajanula Samara Bheri by TSRTC employees unions' leader Aswathama Reddy.  (PTI)
People attend rally Sakalajanula Samara Bheri by TSRTC employees unions' leader Aswathama Reddy. (PTI)

KCR continues to play hardball with agitating Telangana road transport corporation workers

  • Telangana, a state born after decades of agitation, playing hardball with its striking employees
  • The government said that the union leaders were misleading the workers and even added that there is limited scope for the courts in the matter as well

BENGALURU : Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao-led state government, on Monday, said that it will permanently shut its doors to striking road transport corporation employees, who refuse to report to duty by midnight on Tuesday.

The ultimatum reiterates the government’s hardened stand against the protesting workers of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

KCR’s statement comes after Rao held a review meeting at Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad on Monday to find ways to end the strike that began with over 48000 employees staying off work since 5 October.

“The State government has decided not to take back on duty those RTC employees and workers, who fail to report to duty by Tuesday midnight. The state government is of the firm view that a good opportunity is given by the government by giving an opportunity to join duties before the deadline," the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The statement comes a day ahead of the three-day deadline given by Rao, whose government had announced to privatise 5100 routes in, which the government has justified as providing a level playing field for private parties, and warned striking workers of doing the same to the remainder of the routes if the employees continue with the agitation.

Telangana, a state born after decades of agitation, playing hardball with its striking employees. Rendering thousands unemployed would only add to the problems of the newly born state that already suffers with high rates of unemployment with the student community, that powered the statehood agitation, accusing Rao of using them only to grab power.

“It is upto the RTC workers and employees whether to join the duties before the deadline and protect their jobs or lose their jobs and put their families to hardships. The government made it clear that if the workers and employees do not join the duties by expiry of the deadline, in the rest of 5000 routes, private buses will be given permits and then there would not be any entity called RTC in the State," the statement added.

The Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been criticised for its hardened stand in the issue that has embroiled the state for exactly a month now. The government, that has already termed the strike as ‘illegal’, has put the blame and responsibility of the consequences squarely on the agitating workers. “The future of the workers and their families are not in the hands of anyone else. It is totally in the hands of workers to protect their jobs," the government said. “There is no question of taking any workers or employee back to duty after Tuesday midnight (Oct 5 Midnight). In this matter, the government is very keen and firm," it added.

The government said that the union leaders were misleading the workers and even added that there is limited scope for the courts in the matter as well. “If the High Court verdict is contrary, having come this far on the matter, both the RTC and government would appeal in the Supreme Court. If the case goes to the Supreme Court the matter would be delayed much further. Going by the past experiences, the case in Supreme Court may drag on for months and years to come. It will become a never-ending battle. Hence this will not do any good to the workers," the government said.

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