Protesting TSRTC union leaders arrested in Telagana2 min read . Updated: 07 Oct 2019, 02:03 PM IST
- KCR says striking employees won't be taken back
- As the strike entered its third day on Monday, thousands of people were left stranded with many bus depots deserted
Hyderabad: The stand-off between the employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and the state government escalated on Monday as protesting union leaders were taken into custody by the police in Hyderabad. The development comes a day after Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) refused to give in to the demands put forth by the employee unions, which include the merger of TSRTC with the state government, and a salary hike.
In a statement on Sunday, KCR termed strike “illegal" and said “RTC is incurring losses to the tune of ₹1,200 crore and has ₹5,000 crore debts coupled with the ever rising the diesel prices. When RTC is under such a bad situation, there is no question of having any compromise with those resorting to unlawful strike that too during the festival season (Dusshera, 8 October)."
In a statement, KCR, who had warned the roughly 50,000 protesting employees that they stand to lose their jobs if they failed to report to duty by 6 pm on 5 October, the day the strike began, said there “is no question of taking back the employees who have not joined duties before the deadline stipulated by the government".
However, it was unclear whether the employees have been officially dismissed from their duties. Queries sent to government officials remained unanswered.
The TSRTC employee unions, led by the joint action committee, held a meeting on Monday and decided that the strike will continue. Union leaders held a protest near the state assembly after the meeting, following which they were taken into police custody.
One of the JAC leaders, Raji Reddy, said the strike will continue regardless of what KCR says. “It will go on for a month as well if it has to," he told Mint.
Government officials said alternate arrangements will be made given that is Dushera on 8 October, and that many will be travelling back and forth. “There are still 4114 private buses and if they are made into state carriages, they would also come under the RTC. Transport and RTC officials are speaking to these operators," KCR’s statement said.
It said new employees will be appointed soon. “Based on which category of employees went on strike, recruitments would be done in those categories. It was decided that in the buses to be run by RTC, fifty percent would be private buses and the rest would be of the RTC If measures and action are taken in this direction, buses will run efficiently and the RTC will become profitable in two to three years. The CM wanted RTC to be restored to status quo within fifteen days," the statement from KCR’s office said.
It also mentioned that on an average TSRTC employee earns ₹50,000, which union leaders said KCR was lying about. “Let him prove that employees earn that much," mentioned Raji Reddy.
As the strike entered its third day on Monday, thousands of people were left stranded with many bus depots across Hyderabad and the state deserted. In Hyderabad, the metro traffic has surged following the surge. A heavy rush is expected in the coming days.