Hyderabad: Telangana is all set to witness a state-wide bandh, based on a call given by unions of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), even as the High Court on Friday asked the state government and union leaders to hold talks and submit a report based on it on 28 October. The order came a day before the state is all set to witness a bandh on 19 October.
The bandh on Saturday is likely to be even more impactful as even Ola and Uber cab drivers in Hyderabad have extended support and are also going on an indefinite strike from the same day in order to press for their demands to regularise the cab aggregator market, IANS reported. So far, more than 48,000 employees of the TSRTC, which manages state-run buses across Telangana, have been abstaining from work since 5 October over demands of salary hikes and merger of the TSRTC with the state government (among others).
“The High Court has asked us and the state government to conduct talks, but all the programmes we have announced will continue as planned. The strike by employees of the TSRTC will also continue," said Raji Reddy, president of the TSRTC Employees Union (which is part of the TSRTC-JAC). The bandh has also received support from other unions of state departments (which has formed its own JAC, comprising over 2 lakh employees).
K. Ravinder Reddy, president of the Telangana Non-gazetted officers (TNGO), who is leading the employees' Joint Action Committee (JAC), said that state government employees will conduct lunch-hour demonstrations, other unions have not served the government with a notice about conducting a strike. “We are definitely in support of the TSRTC unions," he told Mint. Reddy had even met Telangana chief secretary S.K. Joshi on 17 October over the ongoing bus strike.
With buses being off roads, and even the Telangana State Taxi and Drivers Joint Action Committee (TSTDJAC) deciding to go on an indefinite strike, public transport is likely to take a severe hit on Saturday. “We want either the state government, Ola or uber or the IT department to address our concerns," said Shaikh Salahuddin from the TSTDJAC, which, among others, is demanding taxi aggregator services to ensure better living conditions for drivers.
Salahuddin added that out of the 80,000 plus taxis and cab drivers operating in Hyderabad, more than 50,000 have decided to participate in the indefinite strike. Even as the strike entered its fourteenth day, the state government had not initiated any talks with the TSRTC union leaders. In fact, after the strike began on 5 October, KCR had said that all the 48,000-plus employees who participated in the strike will be considered as “self-dismissed" and in a statement later called the strike “illegal and authorized".
So far, since the strike began, two employees have died. Srinivas Reddy, a TSRTC bus driver from Khammam district succumbed to his injuries after he set himself ablaze. He passed away in a hospital in Hyderabad while undergoing treatment last week. Surender Goud, a conductor, hung himself to death in Hyderabad. Both of them were reportedly worried about their future (job loss), owing to the ongoing situation.