T'gana RTC employees firm on continuing stir

The TSRTC employees' unions on Wednesday remained firm on continuing their over month-long strike, notwithstanding the expiry of the state government's deadline for workers to rejoin duty by midnight of November 5.

The employees need not fear (over the deadlines and talk of allowing more private buses) and the fight should continue, E Aswathama Reddy, leader of the employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) told reporters here.

Only a small number of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation employees had reported for duty in response to the government's deadline, Reddy said.

The nature of RTC's constitution cannot be altered in view of a 1950 legislation, he said.

He reiterated his appeal to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to invite the employees unions for talks and resolve the issue.

He said the employees unions are not adamant on their demand for merger of RTC with the state government and that all issues can be sorted through dialogue.

Another leader pointed out that the RTC has not yet been divided between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh following state bifurcation in 2014.

The leaders of the employees unions were speaking after a meeting with state BJP president K Laxman to seek support for their cause.

The strike by the employees entered the 33rd day on Wednesday and the staff continued their protests at various places in the state.

With the employees remaining firm on their agitation, the state government's response after its deadline elapsed on Tuesday night was awaited.

Nearly 48,000 employees had commenced an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call by the Joint Action Council to press their charter of demands, resulting in buses staying off roads.

Talking tough, the government had on Monday decided not to allow any of the striking employees to work after the expiry of the November 5 deadline.

It said if the employees continued their stir, it would go ahead with the plan to permit private bus operators to run services in the remaining 5,000 of the total of 10,400 routes, leading to a situation where the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) virtually ceased to exist.

The Chief Minister had on Saturday said the cabinet decided to allot 5,100 of 10,400 routes to private operators and warned that the other routes would also be given to them if those on strike don't join duty by the midnight of November 5.