HC upholds TRS govt’s power to privatize routes

HC upholds TRS govt’s power to privatize routes

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. (File Photo)

In a development that would put pressure on the striking TSRTC employees whose strike entered 40th day, the High Court has quashed a petition against the government’s decision to privatize bus routes in the state. The PIL was filed by Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) vice president PL Visweshwar Rao. After hearing the views of both sides, the court struck down the petition against a Cabinet decision to privatize bus routes in the state.

The Telangana government gave an order to privatize 1250 routes and is ready to handover another 5100 routes to private operators. According to Section 102 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1998, the state government is empowered to privatize the bus routes, the court said. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is yet to take a decision on the offer made by the employees to return to work and also the High Court’s directions on privatization.

Meanwhile the sources CMO said that two alternative models have been discussed in which both the TSRTC and the Private operators will be allowed to compete or to let a large number of TSRTC staff to opt for voluntary retirement as 50,000 staff will be too large to operate in routes after half are being offered to private operators.

Meanwhile, the TSRTC’s Joint Action Committee (JAC), convener E Ashwathama Reddy, declared that the strike would continue as there is no response from the government to the offer made by the unions saying that they are ready to join duties if the government reciprocated their move by setting any preconditions. Many employees who have reached to their respective bus depots on Friday have to return disappointed as the management said that they have received no instructions from the government. Reddy asked the employees not to go to the depots and asked them to organize protests at all bus depots across the state on Saturday.

Over 48,000 employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have been on a strike since 5 October. The union has stepped down their agitation by dropping their main demand of merger with the government, without any respite as the KCR’s government remained cold to the offer. On Thursday following a marathon review of the TSRTC issue the chief minister said that the government is not ready to bear the burden of the loss-making public transport system any more.