Employees and workers of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation on Monday held protests with family members across the State as part of their ongoing indefinite strike which entered the 17th day.
Scores of leaders and workers of Congress were taken into preventive custody in the city and other districts as they foiled their attempts to lay siege to Pragathi Bhavan, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Raos official residence complex-cum-camp office here, seeking immediate resolution of the indefinite stir.
As part of the protest programmes, sit-ins were organised by RTC workers at depots and bus stands along with their family members and children. RTC employees and workers have been carrying out protests across the state over their demands with political parties and different organisations extending their support.
The striking employees' leaders met Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and conveyed their concerns to her. Meanwhile, the RTC said in a release that public transport was run smoothly on Monday, when academic institutions resumed after Dussehra festival vacation, because of the measures taken by the Corporation.
Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar, RTC MD Sunil Sharma have been continuously monitoring the situation with the officials and trying to restore public transport to normalcy, it said.
Till 6 PM on Monday, 6276 buses (both RTC and hired buses included) had run, it said. The TSRTC, in a counter affidavit filed before the Telangana High Court, submitted that a petition seeking disbursement of salaries was not maintainable in view of shortage of funds. This was in response to a plea filed earlier by some employees seeking direction to the management to release salaries of over 49,000 employees for September.
The counter said at present, only Rs 7.49 crore was available in the Corporation account whereas the monthly wage bill is Rs 239.68 crore. C Prabhakar, counsel for the petitioner seeking disbursement of salaries to employees, said the TSRTC submitted it had only Rs 7.49 crore in its account and cannot pay salaries for September. The court adjourned the matter for October 29.
The counter affidavit stated that there has been a hike in employees salaries by 67 per cent which consumes 58 per cent of the revenues realised by the corporation. It further submitted that during wage revision implemented in June 2015, the corporation has given fitment benefit of 44 per cent with an annual impact of Rs 900 crore.
Further, on the demand raised by unions for revision of pay from April 1, 2017, it said the corporation has given 16 per cent interim relief from July, 2018 with an annual impact of about Rs 200 crore. Thus, the present monthly wage bill has gone upto Rs 239.68 crore. The corporation is running 10,460 buses of which 8,357 buses are RTC owned and 2,103 buses taken on hire. The total annual revenue being realised by the corporation is about Rs 4,882 crore as against annual expenditure of Rs 5,811 crore. As in August 2019, the corporation has accumulated losses of Rs 5,269 crore.
Due to the ongoing strike, expected revenue was not being realised by the corporation, and thus, it has incurred a loss of more than Rs 125 crore by not realising revenue during the Dussehra festive season, according to the counter.
A senior official of Hyderabad Metro said ridership on the service is expected to cross four lakh mark, as against the daily average of around 3 lakh metro travellers, on Monday, which is a new record, in view of the RTC strike. Nearly 48,000 employees and workers boycotted their duties and began an indefinite strike from October 5 demanding merger of the RTC with the government, pay revision, recruitment to various posts, among others, resulting in state-run buses staying off the roads causing inconvenience to commuters.