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Opposition mulls bandh in support of RTC strike

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on October 10, 2019 Published on October 10, 2019

CPI threatens to withdraw support extended to TRS for Huzurnagar repoll

Political parties in Telangana are planning a Statewide bandh in the next few days in support of the ongoing strike by the employees of the State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Jana Sena, Telangana Jana Samithi, and Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi have extended their support to the strike, which entered the fifth day on Wednesday.

Kodandaram, who led the Political Joint Action Committee during the Telangana movement, and Thammineni Veerabhadram, General Secretary of CPI(M) (Telangana), have given a bandh call and asked the other political parties to draw their own agitation programmes to make the strike a success.

The parties will meet again to discuss the bandh plan. They alleged that the Government was trying to privatise the public transport utility.

Addressing the all-party meeting, Ashwathama Reddy, President of the RTC Unions’ Joint Action Committee, blamed the management for the current situation. “About 7,000 people retired from the RTC in the last 10 years. But the management failed to fill up the vacancies,” he said.

“We have given the strike call not for our monetary benefits. The main agenda is to protect the RTC from collapsing. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is trying to divert the discourse by focussing on the issue of salaries,” he said.

He said the Government was yet to clear the dues of about ₹2,400 crore to the public utility. “He also promised to reduce the tax on diesel to bring down the financial burden,” he said.

The RTC employees had begun the strike on October 5 after the talks with the management and the Government failed. Into the fifth day on Wednesday, the strike disrupted the public transport during the crucial Dasara holidays.

Though the government claimed that it was able to operate to 3,000 buses, the CPM leader said that the strike was total. He alleged that the government was trying to privatise the RTC to benefit private players.

TJS President Kodandaram said the TSRTC employees played a pivotal role in the Sakala Janula Samme (general strike) during the Telangana movement, paving the way for the formation of the State.

“The present RTC strike would galvanise other sections of the people to start yet another general strike and force the Government to solve the demands,” he said.

CPI to reconsider support

Meanwhile, the CPI has announced that it would reconsider the support that it extended to the ruling TRS in the upcoming repoll to the Huzurnagar Assembly seat if the Chief Minister refuses to withdraw the dismissal of the striking employees.

“We work for the downtrodden. If the State government refuses to withdraw the dismissal, we will reconsider our decision to support the TRS in the upcoming election,” CPI General Secretary (Telangana) Chada Venkat Reddy said.

Published on October 10, 2019
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