Normal life hit in Telangana after shutdown in support of RTC strike, several leaders held
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who called for a meeting with transport minister P Ajay Kumar and senior officials of the transport department at his Pragathi Bhavan residence, cancelled the meeting later.Updated: Oct 19, 2019 13:19 IST
A state-wide shutdown on Saturday called by the employees of the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) as part of their 15-day long indefinite strike affected normal life across Telangana even as several political leaders were arrested throughout the state.
The chairperson of Joint Action Committee of RTC employees’ unions, E Ashwathama Reddy, said while speaking to reporters that the strike was on but JAC was ready for talks.
Though the high court on Friday instructed the state government to initiate a dialogue with the striking employees’ unions at 10.30am on Saturday, there was no such move.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who called for a meeting with transport minister P Ajay Kumar and senior officials of the transport department at his Pragathi Bhavan residence, cancelled the meeting later.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, instructed officials to take all steps to see that there are no untoward incidents during the strike.
RTC-run buses, which were being run by temporarily-hired drivers and conductors, were confined to the depots in several parts of Telangana as the striking RTC employees, workers from various opposition parties and people’s organisations laid siege to the depots.
Auto-rickshaw and cabs also stayed off the roads as their unions also announced an indefinite strike from Saturday in solidarity with the agitating RTC workers.
Initial reports said the attendance in state government offices at 10.30am was very thin due to lack of transport facilities. Added to this, various employees’ unions including that of the Telangana non-government officials (TNGOs), revenue services employees and electricity employees also announced their support to the RTC strike.
The educational institutions across the state remained closed, as the government has already extended the Dasara vacations till Monday. Similarly, the strike had no impact on the software companies, as it is a holiday for them.
The police took into custody several political leaders and activists including Telangana Jana Samithi leader Prof M Kodandaram, Telugu Desam Party state unit president L Ramana, TDP general secretary Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy and former minister and BJP leader Mothkupalli Narasimhulu at different places in Telangana.
Several others Congress leaders like former minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, former MPs V Hanumanth Rao and Madhu Yashki Goud and former MLA Kuna Srisailam Goud were house arrested in Hyderabad.
At some places like Achanpalli and Mubaraknagar in Nizamabad town, the agitating RTC workers pelted stones at the buses, when the officials tried to run the buses with the help of hired drivers.
Heavy security arrangements were made at all bus depots to prevent any violent incidents.