Hyderabad: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi on Monday urged the striking TSRTC unions to call off their strike and sit for talks with the government to discuss all issues, except the demand to merge TSRTC with the government.
In a statement, TRS secretary general K Keshav Rao appealed to the RTC employees to call off their strike before things get out of their hands, and sit with the government to sort out their issues in a legitimate way. “The TRS government is always considerate with the issues of RTC employees,” Keshav Rao said.
Responding to Keshav Rao’s statement, the striking TSRTC Joint Action Committee convener Aswathama Reddy said the unions would be open to holding discussions with the government over their demands. He said Keshav Rao can mediate between the JAC and the government and have the government extend an invitation for talks. The JAC leaders also met Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundarajan at the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum explaining their stand on the strike and their demands.
In his statement, Keshav Rao said: “I urge the government to consider the RTC employees’ issues, other than the demand for merger of RTC in the government.”
‘Pained over deaths’
Referring to suicides by an RTC driver and conductor, Keshav Rao said he was “deeply pained at the deaths of two striking RTC employees.” “Self-immolation or suicide is no solution to any problem,” the senior party leader said.
He said the State government gave RTC employees a 44 per cent increment in salaries in addition to a 16 per cent interim relief. He also said Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s statement that there was no question of privatising RTC was a significant one. “The three-tier arrangement being considered by the government of 50 per cent RTC, 30 per cent stage carriages, and 20 per cent private vehicles, must be viewed as an experiment against the backdrop of the ongoing agitation and the conditions of the sagging bus transport sector in the country, particularly in the State,” he said.
Keshav Rao said as head of the TRS manifesto committee for the 2018 Assembly elections, he can vouch that at no time was there any thought, “let alone a promise anytime over the merger of RTC or any other public sector enterprise with the government.”
Keshav Rao explained that there was a lot of difference between a State and public undertaking/enterprise, run under the control of a government. “Social control is always preferred over State control. The government is not a commercial organization. No vested party can dictate policy formulation to an elected government,” he added.
Elsewhere in Khammam, a day-long bandh on Monday called for by RTC workers passed off peacefully. The bandh was called following the death of RTC driver Srinivas Reddy from Khammam on Sunday.