HC rejects plea against privatisating bus routes in Telangana

Hyderabad, Nov 22 (PTI): In a breather to the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led TRS government, the Telangana High Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the state cabinet decision of privatising over 5,000 bus routes.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, dismissed the petition of PL Vishweshwar Rao, vice-president of the Telangana Jana Samithi, challenging the cabinet's November 2 decision to privatise permits of 5,100 TSRTC (Telangana State Road Transport Corporation) routes.

Advocate General BS Prasad said he gave an undertaking to the court saying that due procedure would be followed by the government while awarding the routes to private parties.

The court said the state government has the authority to take a decision on privatising the routes.

After the cabinet meeting on November 2, KCR had said the cabinet decided to award as many as 5,100 bus routes to private operatorsto maintain healthy competition and also warned that the rest of the routes would also be given to private operators if the RTC employees do not join duty.

Employees and workers unions of TSRTC started the indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call given by the JAC of TSRTC, demanding merger of the RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others.

Later the unions said they were willing to drop the merger demand if it becomes a hurdle for the government to hold talks with them.

The Telangana High Court on November 18 directed the Commissioner of Labour to take a call on whether the ongoing strike by the unions of TSRTC should be referred to the Labour Court or not, in two weeks to decide the legality of the stir.

Two days ago, the unions said they were willing to join duty if the government provides a congenial atmosphere.