Hyderabad: The 12-hour Statewide bandh called by striking TSRTC unions, that was supported by all the opposition parties, passed off peacefully, barring a few incidents of stone-throwing on buses at isolated locations by some people taking part in the bandh and the strike by RTC workers.
Meanwhile, there was no forward movement on the issue of government holding talks with the striking RTC unions as the former was awaiting an official copy of the court’s observations on Friday in the case relating to the strike. Though transport department officials reportedly had an extended meeting with Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar to review the strike, which is now a fortnight old, it is learnt that the government decided to wait for the receipt of an official copy of Friday’s proceedings of the case in the High Court before taking any steps.
The TSRTC employees’ unions Joint Action Committee which was hoping that the government would invite them for talks on Saturday, announced that it will not only continue its strike but further intensify it. “We want the government to invite us for talks following the court’s orders,” the TSRTC JAC convener Aswathama Reddy said after a meeting of the JAC on Saturday evening.
Bus services take a hit
The bandh call led to severe curtailment of RTC services across the State with reports of skeletal services operated by some depots in a few districts. These operations were made possible with the police providing escort services for the few buses that managed to leave their depots despite protesting RTC workers attempting to block their departure and their subsequent arrival at their destinations.
In the city, the bandh had little impact on normal life with autos, cabs and other private vehicles coming to the rescue of commuters. With buses being confined to their depots, public run transport was severely impacted and more than 3,500 buses remained off the roads in the Greater Hyderabad Zone.
Across the State as well as in the city, a number of leaders from different political parties, including BJP State president Dr K Laxman, Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, TJS leader Prof M Kodandaram, alongwith CPI and CPM State and local leaders were taken into custody as they led protests in different parts of the State.
Though the protests were peaceful to a large extent, save for the expected tug-of-war between striking RTC workers and police personnel at various bus depots, stray incidents of stones being thrown at buses, resulting in breaking of the vehicles’ window panes and front and rear windscreens, were reported from some places such as Wanaparthy. In one incident in Karimnagar, angry protesters threw hot tea on a temporary driver while another group tried to attack the driver of yet another bus, also in Karimnagar town.