Seven people were injured after a Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus driven by a temporary driver clashed against a car and skid into a drain. The incident happened in the Bhuvanagiri district on the Hyderabad-Warangal road and involved an RTC bus belonging to the Parkal depot. There have been several cases of an accident involving temporary drivers after the 17-day RTC employees strike began. Earlier, a 24-year old pedestrian, Shinde Dhanraj, was run over by a driver in the Nizamabad district when he was crossing the road in the Manikbhandar area. The victim had succumbed to injuries on the spot. In another incident, Abeeba Begum from Nizamabad was killed while she was on foot at NTR Chowrasta in Nizamabad.
Questions have been repeatedly raised by the opposition parties as well as the striking RTC employees about the State Government’s reckless process of selecting temporary drivers. Sources who have witnessed the process have told Republic that anybody with a Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle (HPMV) license is eligible to apply and is cleared after a perfunctory driving test, lasting not more than a few minutes. The standoff between the KCR-led Government and TSRTC workers continue as despite The Telangana High Court, on 18 October, asking the State Government and Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the TSRTC employees unions’ leaders to convene talks to end the gridlock.
The TSRTC, which has been running in losses for years now, has been losing close to Rs. 12 crores due to the protests in addition to the Rs. 2 crores it was losing in operations. The September salaries of the RTC employees have been withheld and the Chief Minister had threatened to sack all 48,000 employees if they do not resume work. A few union leaders were seen offering flowers to the temporary staff, appealing to them to not work for the RTC and cooperate with the employees. The JAC leaders have been reiterating that they are ready for talks with the government, to discuss their demands but Telangana CM KCR has been adamant about his position of not negotiating with them and also not taking them back to work even if the strike is causing massive public inconvenience.