Telangana govt ultimatum to TSRTC staff to end strike

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President and Chief Minister of the state K. Chandrashekar Rao. (PTI photo)

The Telangana government has set 6 pm on Saturday as the deadline for striking Telangana State Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees to report to duty at their respective depots lest they will lose their jobs. The announcement came after the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had a briefing by a three-member committee that negotiated with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) leaders representing different unions late on Friday night.

Addressing the press, the state Transportation Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar said that after the deadline there will be no talks with the RTC staff and the three member committee headed by the Chief Secretary no longer exists. The state government also appointed Sandeep Sultania as transport commissioner, who will be taking care of RTC affairs.

The Chief Minister sat with the officials immediately after he returned from New Delhi on Friday night. It is believed that the chief minister was unhappy with the timing of the indefinite strike. “We urge the staff to return to work considering the festival rush. It is also the right time to run extra services and make money for the ailing corporation, the unions must stop blackmailing the government ,” Ajay observed.

Staff unperturbed

The 50,000 strong staff of the state road corporation went ahead with the strike and stopped working right after October 5 midnight bringing the inter and intra state services to a grinding halt. Only state run buses from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are operating now. With the strike affecting city bus service, the Hyderabad Metro is now running a train every three minutes in it’s two busy corridors. Extra ticket counters were set up in all major Metro terminals. The service will now begin at 5 am and will run past midnight to mop up extra rush. Extra police force and Metro officials are now manning the stations.

The TSRTC had around 2,100 hired buses and 5,000 temporary drivers at this moment. The officials hope that they will be able to operate skeletal services despite of the strike. The government has already placed advertisements in the newspapers calling for temporary drivers and conductors to man the state buses. Several college and school buses will also be pressed into city bus service, the officials said.

Meanwhile, private bus operators and auto drivers are having a field day by charging exorbitantly from the hapless travellers struck in between the government and the RTC staff.

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