TSRTC strike: KCR govt made offer for negotiations

With one more sacked Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) staffer committing suicide fearing debt burden, the K Chandrasekhar Rao government seems to have softened its rigid stand and made an offer for negations through party senior K Keshava Rao.

However, the RTC staff representatives, who met the state Governor Tamilisai Soudararajan and sought her intervention on Monday reacted cautiously.

While driver Srinivas Reddy of Khammam succumbed to burn injuries, another driver B Sudarshan Goud, from the Raniganj depot here, committed suicide by consuming pesticide.

With five more reports of attempted suicides creating ripples across the state, the Telangana government showed signs of softening its stand in dealing with the strike in State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC). Employees also responded positively.

Keshava Rao writes

Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) parliamentary party leader K Keshava Rao took up the responsibility of an emissary to bring the government and striking employees to the dialogue table. He issued a statement calling on employees to end their strike and come for talks.

He also asked the state government to consider the demands of the employees, except for the crucial one regarding the RTC's merger with the government.

Reacting to the offer, RTC employees’ union's joint action committee chairman Ashwathama Reddy said, “If Keshava Rao represents the government, we are ready for talks. We had good experience with his mediation in the past”.

He said that he needs to hold a discussion with other unions to take a call on continuing the ten-day old strike or going for negotiations.

The employees have put forth 26 demands before the government. They include the merger of the RTC with government, revision of pay scales, adding new fleet and fresh recruitments.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao declared the strike unlawful and declared that except for 1,200 people who attended their duties, the rest of TSRTC staffers, are “self dismissed’.

They were not paid their salary for September. On top of it, the CM unveiled a new policy to partially privatize the TSRTC.

TDP president Nara Chandrababu Naidu and Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan urged the TSRTC employees not to resort to suicide. The entire Opposition stood behind the RTC staff and gave a call for a state-wide bandh on October 19.

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