Hyderabad: The state government is seriously considering invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to deal with the strike call given by TSRTC employees unions from June 11.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who has warned that striking employees will be sacked, directed officials to make alternative arrangements to run bus services in case the employees strike work.
Esma gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the provisions of the Act.
The plan to invoke Esma came up after the RTC employees did not make their stand clear on the strike. The union leaders had on Friday informed transport minister P. Mahender Reddy that they would come out with their stand on strike on Saturday after he urged them to the withdraw strike. The employees did not respond indicating that they are going on strike from June 11 as announced earlier.
Pvt buses, drivers to be hired
The state government is seriously considering invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to deal with the strike call given by Telangana State Road Transport Corporation employees unions from June 11.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is learnt to have directed officials to hire private buses, private drivers to run bus services with police protection and invoke Esma if employees disrupt services from June 11.
Esma says: “Any person who commences a strike or otherwise takes part in any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.”
The Act reads, “Any person who instigates a strike which is illegal under this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
The Esma was enacted by Centre in 1968 to maintain “certain essential services and the normal life of the community”.
The Act includes a long list of “essential services” in its charter ranging from post and telegraph, through railway, airport and port operations and prohibits key employees in these services from striking. It also allows states to choose the essential services on which to enforce Esma....