Telangana Guv Asks State Authorities to Take Steps to Avoid Inconvenience to People as Bus Strike Enters 13th Day

Hyderabad: As the strike by employees of state-run Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) entered the 13th day on Thursday, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday held a key meeting with transport, RTC and other officials and discussed the government’s version to be submitted in the High Court on Friday.

The court had recently pulled up the government, union leaders and transport corporation management for the strike and directed to end stir.

In the crucial meeting held at Pragathi Bhavan, the Chief Minister has discussed the stand to be taken to end strike as sought by the Court.

Meanwhile, RTC Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor Ashwathama Reddy warned that KCR would face a similar fate of Viceroy incident which dethroned NTR from CM post.

Stating that CM post not permanent, Reddy said that many leaders come and go they cannot remain adamant and dictatorial.

Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan stepped in and urged the state government and RTC management to take all necessary steps to avoid inconvenience to common people.

Soundararajan reviewed the situation with Principal Secretary (Transport) Sunil Sharma, a press communique issued by the press secretary to governor said.

The governor has urged the government and RTC management to take all necessary steps for alternative transport arrangements to avoid inconvenience to the common man, it said.

The governor said she has been receiving representations from political parties and organisations on the RTC employees strike, it said.

The principal secretary, Transport department, explained to the governor about arrangements made by the stategovernment and RTC management.

He said more than 9,000 buses are running now and TIMS (Ticket Issuing Machines) are used for issue of tickets toprevent collection of higher charges from passengers. All necessary steps have been taken to avoid public inconvenience.

The RTC employees' Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader Aswadhama Reddy hit out at the TRS government for not making sincere efforts to resolve the issue.

The striking employees, meanwhile, continued their protests in Hyderabad and other places in the state in supportof their demands, including merger of RTC with the government, pay revision and others.

The employees and political activists organised various forms of protest, including sit-ins, demonstrations, bike rallies, cultural shows and others at several places.

Some women employees performed the Telangana festival of 'Bathukamma' as a form of protest.

Left-backed students' unions, including the AISF, SFI and PDSU, held a protest at the Osmania University ere, expressing solidarity with the RTC employees, on Thursday.

CPI and CPI(M) besides others organised a meeting here in support of the striking employees.

The state government employees unions have also expressed solidarity with the protesting RTC staff.

Slamming the TRS government for not making sincere efforts to resolve the issue, Aswadhama Reddy said "Every RTC worker had fought for Telangana and got Telangana state.

Today's Chief Minister (K Chandrasekhar Rao) was leader of agitation (for separate Telangana). We were with him then," he told reporters on Thursday.

"The RTC workers had then conveyed to the country and the world (about need for Telangana). With the same spirit, we will fight and realize our rights and safeguard public transport in Telangana," he said.

He alleged that his phone was being "tapped". The chief minister should know the facts at least now, he said. "Once people's resistance starts, nobody can stop. You may continue to be chief minister for the next four years. Nobody may dislodge you but anything can happen democratically," he said.

The government of a charismatic leader like chief minister (in undivided Andhra Pradesh) N T Rama Rao collapsed within four months (after formation), he said.

"There could be a constitutional crisis also (if events like RTC strike continued)," he claimed.

Aswadhama Reddy asked why state ministers like T Harish Rao and E Rajender were silent on the RTC strike.

There are also attempts to usurp the properties of RTC, he alleged. The government should invite the protesting employees for talks, he demanded.

The state-wide strike by nearly 48,000 employees of various TSRTC unions, demanding fulfillment of their demands, including merger of RTC with the government, pay revision and recruitment to various posts, among others, began on October 5.

Since the strike began, two employees have ended their lives and three attempted suicide. The striking employees have called for a state bandh on October 19.

The opposition Congress, Left and other parties have announced their support to the bandh.

The chief minister has ruled out talks with the striking employees or taking them back, terming the agitation "illegal".