KCR says will privatise 50% buses, gives striking employees 3-day deadline
At least 48,000 employees and workers unions of TSRTC had begun an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana, demanding RTC’s merger with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others.Updated: Nov 02, 2019 22:03 IST
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday announced the privatisation of 50% of the state’s bus services and asked striking employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) to return to work by midnight of November 5.
At least 48,000 employees and workers unions of TSRTC had begun an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana, demanding RTC’s merger with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others.
They were also demanding revision of their salaries pending since April 2017. They want fresh recruitment in the corporation to reduce the workload on the employees.
Two days after the employees began their strike, the chief minister had declared the strike was illegal and all the employees who did not return to their duties by the evening of October 6 stood dismissed from their services.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly called, said on Saturday he wanted to give one last chance to the agitating employees on humanitarian grounds. He made the announcement after a marathon five-hour long meeting of the state cabinet at Pragati Bhavan.
“I am giving them three days’ time. They have to return to their duties unconditionally by midnight of November 5. If they do not resume their duties before this deadline, it would be the end of their job and they would be permanently losing their jobs,” KCR said.
KCR said 10,400 buses are being run by RTC, including the 2100 buses hired from private services. Another 3000 buses belonging to the RTC are in bad shape and ready to be condemned.
Since the RTC management is not in a position to buy new buses in place of the condemned one, the cabinet decided to privatise the 3000 apart from
2100 hired services, he said.
“It means the government will be giving permits to private bus operators to run 5100 buses. The remaining 5300 buses would be under the control of the RTC,” the chief minister said.
“The decision was taken to provide a level-playing field to the public and private transport, in accordance with the new Motor Vehicles Act passed by the Parliament recently that came into effect from September 1,” he said.
The chief minister warned that if the striking employees do not return to their duties after the deadline, the state government would give permits to the private operators to operate the remaining 5300 buses as well.
“It does mean Telangana would become a state without public transport. It doesn’t make any difference to the public as they only want transport facility, irrespective of whether it is private or public,” he said.
He, however, assured that the private bus operators would not be given powers to decide the fares.
“They would be under the control of a transport regulator which will decide the bus fares from time to time. The concessions being given to various sections of people will continue even in the private buses,” he said.
The chief minister appealed to the RTC workers not to ruin their lives under the influence of unions and selfish opposition parties.
“I am giving them the best opportunity to get back their lost jobs. If they don’t return to their duties, the government will not be responsible for their fate,” he said.