As the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employee’s indefinite strike reached the seventeenth day on Monday, the government cracked upon several Congress leaders including the Assembly floor leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka in a preemptive move to thwart the “Chalo Pragathi Bhavan” call given by the TPCC.
Even as police have sieved every inch of the five-kilometre radius around the busiest Begumpet-Panjagutta area where the Pragati Bhavan is located resulting in a severe traffic jam, Congress working president A Revanth Reddy escaped his house arrest and reached the CM’s house on a motorbike. He was arrested immediately and was shifted to the Kamatipura police station.
On the other hand former Sangareddy MLA Jaggareddy and senior leaders Anjani Kumar Yadav and Ramulu Naik also tried to reach the CM’s residence along with their supporters. They were all taken into custody by the police. Ponnala Lakshmiah, Ponnala Prabhakar, Jana Reddy, Sampath Kumar, Malreddy Rangareddy, Sridhar Babu and Vishnuvardhan Reddy were kept under house arrest.
“The undemocratic arrest of agitating leaders shows the moral trepidation of the Chief Minister KCR,” RTC employees Joint Action Committee convener Aswathama Reddy said reiterating the stand of the employees to continue their strike. “KCR even dishonoured the High Court’s direction to start negations with the JAC,” the JAC leader said.
Meanwhile, the entire opposition except the MIM has staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) and warned the government that they would further intensify the agitation. In other places, RTC staff and their families staged similar dharnas in front of the district bus stations all over the state.
No money for salaries: Management
The TSRTC management, on the other hand, submitted to the high court bench that it has no money to pay the salaries for the month of September. The counselor said that the TSRTC has only Rs 7.5 cr in its coffers while the salary bill is around Rs 230 cr. The RTC management argued that the strike is illegal whereas the bench observed that not paying for the services rendered by the staff is unlawful.
The petitioners pointed out that several of the staffers are resorting to suicides due to lack of money fearing for their future. The bench has posted the case for hearing on 29 October.