Hyderabad: In a bold move, giving a severe jolt to striking workers of the Telangana State Road Transport Cor-poration (TSRTC), Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday night rejected the main demand of the strikers by declaring that the RTC would not be merged with the state government at any cost. Mr Rao also announced that the striking employees would not be taken back into service.
Mr Rao said only 1,200 employees now remained in the RTC as the remaining of the staff had failed to join their duty before the government’s deadline of 6 pm on October 5.
According to the RTC management, the total strength of RTC is 49,340 workers. According to the Chief Minister’s statement, 48,140 RTC employees, who were on strike, have been fired from service.
After reviewing the situation with senior officers of the transport and police departments, besides the RTC management, at Pragathi Bhavan, Mr Rao, in a press statement, declared that the government will not have any further talks with the RTC unions.
Finding fault with the RTC staff for going on a strike during the festival season, especially at a time when the corporation was facing a Rs 1,200-crore loss and a debt of Rs 5,000, the Chief Minister said, “The RTC staff committed a grave mistake. We will not merge the RTC with the state government.”
Mr Rao disclosed a plan of hiring 2,500 bus drivers on a war-footing and granting permission for another 4,115 private buses to be brought into the RTC. It was decided to run the RTC with 50:50 ratio on a private-public partnership (PPP) basis in the future.
He said that the government had constituted a committee, headed by Sunil Sharma, principal secretary, transport, to study and submit a report by Monday to restore the glory of the RTC and hiring 50 per cent of private buses and making fresh recruitments into the corporation.
Stressing that there was a dire need to put an end to the monopoly and blackmailing attitude of RTC trade unions, the Chief Minister said that only those who give an undertaking on a bond that they would not join any trade unions would be considered for new jobs in the Corporation. Referring to demands of the opposition parties to have an all-party meeting to discuss the merger of the RTC with the government, Mr Rao questioned whether either the Congress or the BJP would have merged the RTC with the government in states they were ruling.
Stating that the RTC remains a great organisation, Mr Rao said that being efficient, there is every need to transform the corporation into a profit-making institution.
He said that strengthening the cargo wing of the RTC would fetch it big profits. Every day, around a crore passengers commute in 10,400 buses of the RTC, he said. He said that each RTC worker draws a salary of around Rs 50,000 and demanding more was not fair....