'Get Back to Work or Face Termination': Telangana Govt's Ultimatum to Protesting RTC Employees

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has given a deadline to the employees of the state-run Telangana Road Transport Corporation to end their indefinite strike which began from Saturday midnight. The government has warned the employees with termination if they fail to join their duties by 6pm on Saturday.

If the protesting RTC workers fail to get back to their duties, they will be removed from their jobs with the RTC, the transport minister said ina statement. “Even in future, under any circumstances, they will not be treated and considered as RTC employees,” Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar said.

The RTC employees are demanding the merger of the corporation with the government. Recently, the Andhra Pradesh government took a similar step and merged the RTC employees with the government.

Spelling out the alternative arrangements in view of the strike, Kumar said that the government has decided to evolve a permanent alternate transport policy to ensure convenience for the public. He also said the government is working out strategy to run the TSRTC by hiring 3-4,000 private buses and recruiting new staff.

Route permits will also be given to nearly 7,000 private buses.

However, the protesting TSRTC employees seem undeterred by the warning from the authorities.

“Our strike is legal. We don’t fear for these warnings. We are united and ready to face the consequences,” a TSRTC leader said.

The buses of the TSRTC went off the roads across the state as employees began an indefinite strike from Friday midnight to press for their demands. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at bus stations across the state and people travelling to their destinations for Dasara and Bathukamma festivals faced severe inconvenience as over 10,000 buses remained confined to the bus depots.

The employees of TSRTC on Friday decided to go ahead with an indefinite strike from the midnight of October 5 even as the government said it would impose the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and suspend those taking part.

“About 50,000 RTC workers are participating in the strike. We are requesting the people to support us to save RTC,” JAC chairperson Ashwathama Reddy had said on Friday.