After Weeks of Impasse, KCR asks Striking T'gana Transport Workers to Resume Duty; Another Staffer Ends Life
CM K Chandrasekhar Rao urged the transport employees, who had withdrawn their 52-day-old agitation on November 25, to resume work without any condition and promised to introduce welfare measures.
File photo of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
Hyderabad: After weeks of slugfest and protests, workers of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have been asked to join duties from Friday.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao appealed to the transport employees, who had withdrawn their 52-day-old agitation on November 25, to resume work without any conditions and said appropriate orders will be given to TSRTC officials.
Saying that the loss-making corporation is left with a balance of only Rs 13 crore, Rao said the government will provide Rs 100 crore to the corporation immediately. He also announced that suitable employment opportunities will be provided to the family members of workers who committed suicide during the strike period.
Rao, who spoke to reporters at Pragati Bhavan after a Cabinet meeting, said, “We don’t want to let innocent workers suffer. They staged an illegal strike after falling in the trap of unions. The government can go to the labour court as per directives of the high court. However, we are not inhuman and we will not do that. Our government is a role model to the entire country as far as welfare schemes are concerned.”
The Cabinet also approved a proposal to increase bus fares at the rate of 20 paisa per kilometre from December 2 — the management hopes this will bring in to the corporation additional annual revenue to the tune of Rs 750 crore and help reduce its losses to a certain extent.
Rao urged the workers to stay away from the politics of union leaders and said his government is ready to appoint a welfare committee with two members in each depot to take care of all their issues. He said five employees from each depot would soon be invited to deliberate on how the corporation should move forward and to take collective decisions. Employees’ unions would not be allowed in the exercise, he said.
“Unions and political leaders are misleading the workers. I will personally explain to them what exactly the TSRTC is. The corporation will make profits, if the employees works as per my instruction and they would also receive bonus,” he said.
Slamming the unions and opposition parties for allegedly creating false hopes for employees, Rao said the Congress and the BJP spoke about merging TSRTC with the government in Telangana although it was not done in those states ruled by them.
Rao criticised Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy and three other BJP MPs from Telangana for talking about the welfare of TSRTC employees although they had voted for a central legislation allegedly allowing privatisation (in public transportation).
"There is a Union minister here who belongs to the BJP. There are three other MPs... these four had voted for the Transport Act, which enables privatisation, in the Budget Session (of Parliament). They should tell people tomorrow… You vote in Parliament and talk big here… You are doing this to cheat whom?" he asked.
Meanwhile, the police said a 52-year-old driver with the TSRTC allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in a field near here.
TSRTC employees alleged that the driver ended his life because of what they described as the state government's rigid stand on the bus strike. However, the police said they are verifying the exact reason for the suicide.
So far, five TSRTC employees have ended their lives and a few others have attempted suicide in different parts of Telangana after the strike began. The employees withdrew their stir last Monday although they did not receive a positive response from either the management or state government on their demands.
The strike was withdrawn to halt alleged attempts to privatise the corporation, RTC employee unions’ leader Aswathama Reddy had said on Monday.
The government and the TSRTC management adopted a tough stance on the strike, saying it had been illegal. Although the government had held talks with the workmen on one occasion, there was no agreement between the two sides on the agenda for talks.
The TSRTC management on Monday said the employees cannot be allowed for work though they called off the strike as the strike issue was pending before the labour commissioner as per the high court directives.
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 demand for merger of the corporation with government.
The government had earlier said the TSRTC was not in a position to accept the employees' demands as it has been making losses.
(With inputs from PTI)
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