Hyderabad: Following a High Court directive, the Telangana government initiated steps to form a panel involving ministers and officials to hold talks with State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees’ unions to resolve the strike.
The strike entered the 11th day on Tuesday.
However, the crucial demand for merger of the RTC with the government may remain a contentious issue between the government and employees. The government is ready to sympathetically consider the other demands of the employees.
The High Court gave an extensive hearing to the arguments presented by the employees’ unions and the government on the strike. The HC division bench comprising Chief Justice R Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy expressed displeasure over the attitude of both the government and the employee unions. Suggesting the employees to call off strike, the HC gave two days of time to the government to end the deadlock by inviting the employees for talks. It also directed the government to appoint a regular managing director for the RTC in two days.
The case was posted for next hearing on October 18.
The employees’ joint action committee took a decision to continue the strike but participate in the talks, if the government invites them.
It may be mentioned that TSRTC employees have been on strike for the last 11 days. They also announced serious agitation programmes until October 19, after Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao declared that the doors were shut for any dialogue with the RTC employees. He also declared that all the more than 48,000 employees on strike ceased to be on RTC rolls.
The strike took serious turn after two employees, a driver in Khammam district and a conductor in Hyderabad, committed suicide.
K Keshava Rao, senior leader of ruling TRS, issued a statement on Monday calling upon the employees to end the strike and come for talks with the government. He also said that except for the merger, all other demands were negotiable. This slightly eased the situation.
However, employees across the state staged protests on Tuesday. in Karimnagar, the employees performed symbolic last rites on government representatives. In Sangareddy, Congress legislator Jagga Reddy was arrested when he came to extend support to the striking employees. Followers violently revolted against the police, prompting mild baton charge.
BJP advocate K Karuna Sagar lodged a complaint with Kanchanbagh police in Hyderabad to register an abetment to suicide case against KCR and Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar. He alleged that Khammam driver Srinivasa Reddy committed suicide as he was upset over the CM’s statement that the striking employees were dismissed from service.
TSRTC employees’ joint action committee delegation led by its chairman Ashwathama Reddy had a meeting with various state government employees’ unions for support.