Hyderabad: The state Cabinet is going to meet on Saturday to take a crucial decision with regard to the future of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation and the strike by its employees.
Sources close to the state government revealed that the RTC workers' demand that RTC should be merged with the state government is considered to be next to impossible by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. He is keen on adopting the Madhya Pradesh model.
In Madhya Pradesh in 2005, the state RTC was closed because it incurred huge losses. Staff had been offered voluntary retirement. Private operators have since then been running nearly 35,000 buses and were given permits to ply on all routes.
Sources said that though Mr Rao has examined the public transport systems in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, where most of the routes are allocated to private operators, he showed interest in the Madhya Pradesh model.
According to sources, the Chief Minister is of the firm opinion that if RTC is merged with the government, many more such demands will be made by the other 56 corporations.
Sources further say that Mr Rao will explain the role of the Congress and BJP in the RTC strike and will point out that though the Centre has 31 per cent share in the RTC, it is not coming forward to subsidise the state to the extent of its shares at least.
Sources said that Mr Rao felt that neither Union minister G. Kishan Reddy nor other BJP leaders are taking an interest in getting the central government to put in some funding.
Considering that the strike has lasted for 27 days, the cabinet will also focus on alternative transport arrangements for the long suffering public.
Sources said that the Chief Minister has also sought opinion of experts on the merger of RTC and has been told that it is next to impossible and there is no precedent for it anywhere.
The chief minister has said that the RTC leaders are not consistent about their stand on the merger. They told the court that the merger was not their demand at all, but in the Sakala Janula meet they said that without the merger there is no life for the RTC.
Sources revealed that the chief minister will explain to the cabinet that in view of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 of the Centre, the state government's job has become much easier as Section 67 of the Act empowers state governments to give route permits to private operators and make private operators partners in the transport system.
Sources said that Mr Rao will tell the cabinet that in response to the RTC strike, labour department officers initiated talks with the unions, and while the talks were still halfway through, the date of the strike was announced by the unions, which is illegal.