Hyderabad: Sunday marks the 30th day of the ongoing TSRTC strike. It has resulted in the loss of at least 12 lives of RTC employees, from suicide or heart attack, with the emotional and financial stress mounting on them.
On Saturday evening, K. Srisailam, 36, an RTC driver from Farukh-nagar depot in the city, consumed poison. He was taken to the hospital in his hometown, Aman-gal, in Nagarkurnool, from where he was referred to Osmania Hospital and is undergoing treatment.
Several employees are struggling to make ends meet as most of their savings have dried up, which is pulling them into depression. Some employees are even consuming anxiety pills and already existing health problems are being escalated to another level.
A TSRTC conductor, Mr Ravinder, 52, from Warangal depot who suffered a heart attack three days ago is recovering in hospital. At a recent public meeting, another RTC employee, N. Babu, from Karimnagar depot, suffered a heart attack during a public meeting and died.
“It’s a lot to take for us middle class employees, dependent on our monthly salaries. There are a lot of responsibilities on our heads to take care of, starting from school and college fees to monthly rents and EMIs.
“Many are not being outspoken about the hardships that they are going through. These are really tough times and we want this deadlock to be over.”
Despite everything, the employees are continuing the strike as there is a fear that all these days' struggle would go in vain. “It’s do or die situation now, they can't get out of it,” said a family member of an RTC employee.
Passengers had their own share of woes. Their bus passes are not being recognised by the temporary staff and they are having to purchase tickets.
Most of the regular bus passengers are now dependent on their personal vehicles, cabs, private transport and the Metro Rail.
“It cost me `20 to travel between Begumpet to Secunderabad in a bus but on the Metro Rail it costs `50. My daily expenditure on transport has more than doubled,” asked a passenger.
Union leaders have resolved to continue the strike and have sketched a plan of action packed with protest and meets across the state, ending on November 9.
On Monday, RTC employees at all the depots would hold meetings. On November. 4, political parties will protest at the depots and the next day will see a ‘sadak bandh’, where the highways will be blocked by employees. On November 6, there will be protests at RTC depots, On November 7, a protest has been planned along with family members of RTC employees. November 8 will see the 'Chalo Tank Bund’, and the next day is the proposed protest at Tank Bund.
Speaking to the media, JAC leader Ashwathama Reddy said union leaders would meet Union minister Amit Shah on November 4 and 5. He urged employees not to take extreme steps as government can not do 'anything' to them....