Solve RTC strike issue in two weeks,Telangana HC directs Labour Commissioner

M Somasekar | | Updated on: Nov 18, 2019

Into the 45th day of strike, there seems to be no solution in sight for the deepening woes of nearly 48,000 employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

The High Court, which has been hearing the arguments of the government and the employees has today directed the State Labour Commissioner to take a decision on the strike in two weeks.

The leaders of the Employees Union have backed down by withdrawing a major demand of merging the public sector undertaking with the State government, but the Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao has not budged from his stand that the striking employees should give up the protest and join duty.

In the High Court, legal arguments from both sides concluded today.

The status of the TSRTC itself came into question with the representative of the Centre saying that the Corporation was not recognised as the bifurcation issues between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are yet to be sorted out. Which implies that the APSRTC was the recognised Corporation.

The APSRTC, now under the Government of AP, was recently merged into the State department of Transport by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government, much to the relief of the employees in the State. Encouraged by this the TSRTC Union too put forth the similar demand.

State toughens stand

Meanwhile, the State government toughened it’s stand over the weekend by arresting two of the Union leaders-Ashwathama Reddy and Raj Reddy, who were on hunger strike and forcibly shifted them to the Osmania General Hospital on Sunday.

At the same time the Managing Director of the debt-ridden, loss making TSRTC, informed the Courts that the Corporation will hire 1,035 new buses to augment its services. This is seen as a move to weaken the strike by the Corporation.

Interestingly, the Corporation has been encouraging private drivers to take the buses on hire on a daily basis, run the services and earn. This is getting some response, though instances of accidents and erratic services have been reported, according to sources.

Sadak Bandh

In the ‘battle of wits and patience’, the Joint Action Committee of Political parties backing the employees extended their support to the Sadak Bandh call for Tuesday, across the State.

One of the prominent leaders of the JAC, M Kodandaram has condemned the police action of forcibly shifting the RTC leaders on hunger strike to the hospital and also resorting to arrests of leaders to weaken the agitation and tomorrow’s bandh.

He said, doctors are advising the Union leaders to reconsider their indefinite hunger strike on health grounds. He urged the State government to take a humanitarian view of the situation.

The JAC will review in the evening and take a call, he added. The opposition parties have rallied behind their support for the bandh call on Tuesday.

Published on November 18, 2019
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