The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress on Monday have extended their support to the ongoing strike by the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees demanding its merger with the state government in Telangana. However, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, on the other hand, has maintained his stand to not engage in any talks with the employees on an indefinite strike in the state.
"The only mistake RTC employees made was going on a strike, which is a constitutionally provided right of the employees. The state is completely out of funds and in a bankrupt state and he is eyeing the RTC lands, which are worth lakhs of crores," BJP Chief Spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao said. He also said that there is a conspiracy behind the Chief Minister's decision.
Senior Congress leader and ex-MP V Hanumanth Rao has said that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led-state government should settle the matter instead of threatening to terminate their services. "The state government has not fulfilled the demands of RTC employees for several years. Now that they have gone for the strike, the authority has not paid their salaries and the government is threatening to terminate their services," he said.
Telangana Majdoor Sang President Maram Reddy Thomas said that sacking over 50 thousand RTC employees is a black spot on public order. "We have continued the strike since the last three days and our aim is to save Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC). Our main demands are to bring new busses into the RTC and remove the private buses because they are running in losses. But the government is ignoring our demands," Thomas said.
" Instead the Telangana government said that they are removing 58,533 RTC employs. This is a black spot on the public order. The state government takes Rs 1,000 crores from RTC every year in the form of taxes but they are not allowing any amount to save RTC," he added.
A writ petition has also been filed in Telangana High Court challenging the ongoing strike by the RTC employees. Advocate PV Krishnaiah moved a house motion in the court and filed a writ petition seeking a direction to the unions to forthwith call off their strike and restore their duties immediately.
The petition also sought a direction constituting an independent committee to see the demands of RTC employs with the consultation of the government. The state of Telangana, however, has opposed the interim relief sought by the petitioner stating that the state government has taken all the measures in providing substitute transport facilities. A division bench of the High Court has slated the matter for hearing on October 10 and directed all the RTC depot managers to submit a report by that time.
Different employees' and workers' unions of the TSRTC began an indefinite strike on Friday midnight across Telangana following a call given by the Joint Action Committee of the corporation, demanding merger of the RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among other things. Indicating its firm stand against the strike, the state government had earlier said the stir was illegal and set 6 pm on October 5 as a deadline for the agitating employees to report for duty.
(with ANI inputs)