NAPM opposes privatisation of RTC routes; demands dialogue with staff

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 06, 2019

Striking employees of TSRTC defied the November 5 deadline set by the Government. Photo: PTI   -  PTI

Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy back demands

Even as the striking employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) defied the November 5 deadline set by the Government, the month-long agitation by the employees have received support from national intellectuals and people’s organisations working in various parts of the country.

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has written a letter to Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao, asking him to intervene and resolve the month-long RTC strike immediately. It opposed any move to privatise the public transport utility and demanded constitution of a high-level expert committee to strengthen the Corporation.

The signatories included Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan), Aruna Roy (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Binayak Sen (Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties), Prafulla Samantara (Lok Shakti Abhiyan), Jeevan Kumar (Human Rights Forum), and Kavita Srivastava (PUCL).

The NAPM is an alliance of over 300 organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in different areas in the country.

Deadline ends

The November 5 deadline set by the Government for the staff to report back to work failed to deter the employees as only 360 out of the 48,000 employees decided to resume work. Notwithstanding the prospect of losing jobs and threat of losing about 5,000 routes to private players, the employees have decided to continue their agitation.

Ashwathama Reddy, the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of RTC employees' unions, has said that the deadlines can't deter them from pursuing their demands.

In its letter, the NAPM also wanted him to initiate a process for peaceful and positive dialogue with representation from all unions of TSRTC, Opposition parties and civil society organisations. It asked the Government to announce an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh rupees and provide jobs to the kin of the employees who died in the last one month.

Expressing ‘dismay’ over the way the strike is being handled by the State Government, the NAPM pointed out that the issue didn’t confine just to 48,000 employees and their families. Many peopleare being impacted with the disruption of services for over a month.

“From across the nation, we have been observing all these developments with a great deal of concern, since we also know that the States in the Southern part of the country have been comparatively successful examples for public transportation, as against many states in the Northern and Central region, which shifted towards privatisation of transport, causing immense trouble to lakhs of commuters,” the NAPM leaders said.

Defending the demands put forth by the employees, they said it was no sign of a healthy democracy for the State Government to ignore the agitations, which had backing from different sections in the society.

Published on November 06, 2019

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