After Weeks-long Stir, Telangana Transport Workers Barred From Joining Work; Cabinet Meet on Nov 28
Hyderabad: Employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation were allegedly turned away by officials and police on Tuesday when they reached bus depots to resume work, a day after they called off their 52-day-long strike.
Emotional scenes were witnessed at some places as women employees started crying after they were not allowed to rejoin duty and police sent them away.
“We are finding it difficult to pay school and college fees (of children),” a weeping woman conductor told reporters. “We appeal to the CM sir to take us back for duty,” another woman conductor said.
Police said hundreds of employees, including scores of women employees, were taken into preventive custody near bus depots in various districts across the state on Tuesday. Security was tightened near bus depots and bus stands in the state to prevent any untoward incidents, they said.
RTC officials were not immediately available for comment on the situation following the strike's withdrawal. A release from the chief minister's office said the Telangana cabinet would meet on November 28 and 29 here to discuss issues relating to TSRTC employees and others.
The government's announcement came a day after the employees' unions called off their two-month old strike on Monday. "The two-day cabinet meeting will discuss at length on the measures to be taken to end the TSRTC impasse in the state," it said.
The corporation said in a release that it was trying, not only to improve alternative measures for passengers, but continue work in offices with limited staff. The release said 6,475 buses were operated with 11,055 temporary staff in 11 regions of the Corporation.
Sources said the government is likely to take a call on closing down the ailing unit or re-launch as a public transport system. The government is awaiting a decision from the labour commissioner on the weeks-old strike and its legality.
Congress MPs N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who heads the party’s state unit, Komatireddy Venkata Reddy and A Revanth Reddy on Tuesday expressed deep anguish and agony at the “inhuman manner in which TSRTC employees are being treated by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao."
They met Union Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in Delhi and sought the Centre's intervention in the matter, a Congress release said here.
Observing that the Centre holds 33% share in the TSRTC, Uttam Kumar Reddy said it was the duty of the former to protect the institution and the employees.
Slamming the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government for not allowing employees
to resume work, Congress MLC T Jeevan Reddy said no order about removing the workers from duty had been issued. It means that they are in service, he said.
The transport employees, who began their strike on October 5, withdrew their agitation on Monday though they did not get any positive response from either the TSRTC management or state government on their demands.
The employee unions’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader Aswathama Reddy has said their decision to withdraw the stir has been taken to halt alleged attempts by the government to "privatise RTC".
The TSRTC management has said it was not possible to take back the workers until the process prescribed by the high court was concluded.
Asserting that the strike had been illegal, TSRTC MD Sunil Sharma on Monday said the employees should not create law and order problems at bus depots on Tuesday morning.
The employees had begun their strike with various demands, including merger of the corporation with the government and recruitment to various posts. However, they subsequently announced that they were ready to put off their merger demand.
(With inputs from PTI)