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Telangana High Court Urges Transport Workers to Call of Strike, Sit for Talks with KCR Govt

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Stating that the ongoing strike has severely inconvenienced commuters, a two-judge bench asked the two sides to initiate a negotiation process and complete it within two days.

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday asked striking state transport employees to call off their agitation and sit for talks with the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led government.

The strike by nearly 48,000 employees of different unions of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) demanding fulfillment of their demands began on October 5 across the state resulting in its buses staying off the roads. Their demands include merger of the corporation with the government, pay revision and recruitment to various posts.

Stating that the ongoing tussle between the government and transport unions has severely inconvenienced commuters, a two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice RS Chowhan, asked the two sides to initiate a negotiation process and complete it within two days.

“Don’t you have alternative other than strike? Is it justified to hold a strike in the festival season? There is many more forms of expressing protest,” the bench told a representative of the trade unions. Members of the unions have argued that the strike was their resort as their problems were not be solved despite repeated pleas.

The judge said the strike has failed is not resolve their issues even after continuing for so many days. “What will you do if government imposes ESMA? The court holds the demands of the TSRTC workers legal, but the strike is illegal,” said the bench that includes Justice Abhishek Reddy.

Meanwhile, the government has said the transport corporation cannot be integrated into the government as demanded by the trade unions. Additional Advocate General Ram Chandra Rao, arguing on behalf of the government, said if the TSRTC is merged, other corporation would start making similar demands.

The judges told Rao that it was unnecessary to mention the demands of the workers and it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that citizens were not harassed.

Rao then told the court that all arrangements were made to ease the troubles of commuters. The judges then said, “If the government has made alternate arrangements, why did you extend the holidays in schools?”

When the petitioner, who had moved the court against the ongoing strike and consequent trouble of citizens, said accidents in the state were caused by untrained bus drivers, the judges asked the government representative to look into the matter.

The court asked the government to appoint a full-time managing director of the TSRTC and submit the report on negotiations. The case would next be heard on October 18.

However, a representative of the trade unions of Joint Action Committee said they were not willing to call off strike.

“We are ready for negotiations. But the government should invite us for it. We will not call off out agitation until the TSRTC is merged with the government,” said Ashwathama Reddy, JAC convenor. He also stated that they have explained everything to the court.

In another development, the Telangana Joint Action Committee of Employees has decided to extend its support to the strike. The employees JAC passed a resolution to immediately take back the transport workers to services whom the government is treating as ‘self-dismissed’.

“We are with TSRTC workers and will discuss the issue with the chief secretary,” said Telangana non-gazetted officers’ association chairman Karem Ravinder Reddy.