Hyderabad: “My daughter has posted her school fee notice on our wall to remind me that is due for payment,” rued an RTC employee in an emotion-ridden tone while participating at the ‘vanta varpu’ programme, organised at the Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) in Secunderabad on Tuesday.
With little prospect of getting his salary, the employee asked, “officials say they have only Rs 7 crore in the kitty. I wish to ask would they not have given our salaries if we were not on strike.”
With the strike into its 18th day, employees were determined to continue the stir though they were clueless about the fate of their September salary.
Hundreds of employees turned up at the JBS to join the protest, including leaders from political parties. While the employees are in a dilemma about the salaries and their jobs, their family members are putting pressure on them because payments are piling up, including school and college fee, house rents, EMIs and regular monthly bills.
“I have two daughters studying in 7th and 9th standard. I need to pay their monthly fees of about Rs 3,000 each and I am the sole earner in my family. We stay in a rented house. How long can we manage like this without pay,” wondered Mr G.S. Narayana, a driver.
Many employees said that their bank balances are near zero. In order to run the family, they were compelled to take loans from financiers as the corporation had stopped giving personal loans for almost four years now on the pretext that they had no funds. “There are several employees who have to pay monthly interest to financiers for having taken loans. Despite the precarious situation, the government is saying that it does not have funds to give salary for the month we have worked,” cribbed another employee.
Yet another pointed that while the private (temporary) drivers are getting Rs 1,500 per day, the regular drivers get only Rs 600. ‘We would be too happy if we also get the same,’ he quipped.
Meanwhile, many felt that the government would have reciprocated more enthusiastically, and be less obstinate, if they had gone on strike during election time. They contended that it was the only time when the government of the day appears bothered about issues concerning the public, the electorate in this case.
Mr Srinivas Rao, an office staff present at JBS, spoke for thousands of protestors when he wanted to know how the Corporation was showering riches on ‘hired’ staff when they were only left with Rs 7 crore that was seemingly insufficient to the pay September salary for the regulars.