K Chandrasekhar Rao digs in heels, no relief for 48,000 transport staff
The employees were demanding, among other things, merger of RTC with the state government as was done in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where they are being treated as government employees.Updated: Oct 08, 2019 03:42 IST
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday announced partial privatisation of the state Road Transport Corporation (RTC); 50% of the existing fleet would be state-run and the remaining would be operated with private participation.
The CM, who held a marathon meeting with the officials of the transport department at his camp office in the evening, reiterated that 48,000-odd employees and workers of the state who had not returned to duties were automatically dismissed, as per the law. The move to sack the employees, who had been on an indefinite strike since Saturday, was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Rao late on Sunday.
The employees were demanding, among other things, merger of RTC with the state government as was done in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where they are being treated as government employees.
“Instructions have been issued to Director General of Police to arrange special police squads at all the bus depots and bus stations to prevent entry of the sacked employees and also to ensure that they did not create any law and order issues,” KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said.
He made it clear that there would be no more unions in the transport corporation. Maintaining that the government did not want to completely privatise the state-owned transport corporation, the chief minister said it would go in for partial privatisation. Out of 10,400 buses, as many as 5,200 would be run by the RTC. Of the remaining, 3,100 buses would be given on hire to the private operators, but would be maintained by the RTC. Another 2,100 buses would be handed over to private bus operators who would run the same on designated routes, including rural areas.
Meanwhile, the Hyderabad police on Monday foiled attempts by the Joint Action Committee of the Telangana RTC employees and workers’ unions to hold a rally to protest against the mass dismissal of the RTC employees.
They arrested JAC chairman E Ashwathama Reddy and convenor Thomas Reddy but released them later. The opposition parties extended solidarity with the striking RTC employees, while the Maoist party issued a statement calling upon the striking workers to take up militant struggles.
Congress floor leader in the assembly Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka blamed the government for the losses of the RTC. BJP leader K Krishna Sagar Rao said the dismissal of 48,000 RTC employees was part of a government conspiracy to usurp corporate assets.