Hyderabad: The State government has informed the Telangana High Court that the TSRTC had total outstanding payments of Rs 2,209.66 crore under various heads, including employees provident fund, credit cooperative society, leave encashments, settlements of retired employees, Motor Vehicle tax, among other things, as on November 9.
Sources said that the counter affidavit to be filed by Chief Secretary S K Joshi on Monday, denied all the allegations in the Public Interest Litigations before the court. The TSRTC has dues of Rs 1,521.25 crore towards employees alone. In addition to this, the corporation has incurred cumulative losses of Rs 5,269.25 crore as on August 31. The government wondered how the TSRTC would be able to service outstanding loans of Rs 1,786.81 crore to banks and other organisations if it continued to operate in losses. “The unions are fully aware about it and cannot feign ignorance,” it contended.
Stating that the illegal strike was conceived by the unions despite the request of the government to refrain from going on strike, particularly during festival time when the corporation would have earned more revenues than normal days, the government said it deprived the corporation of the opportunity to alleviate some of their financial liabilities. “Despite being fully aware that most of the liabilities of the corporation such as EPF, CCS, retired employees settlement, etc., pertained to the employees, the unions resorted to the illegal strike, causing severe loss to the corporation at a juncture when the corporation was already in losses, causing irreversible hardship,” it said.
The unions, the government contended, went ahead with the illegal strike against public interest, thinking that by deliberately causing inconvenience to the common man, the government will succumb to their pressures. “It is further submitted that the unions have made it a habit to engineer such strikes, whenever there is either a festival or any important public event like examinations. More so, whenever their union elections are scheduled, they often resort to such pressure tactics,” the affidavit said, adding that the manner in which the unions resorted to go on strike is tainted with malafides, and to coerce the management and diminish the image of the government, and thereby bargain in an illegal manner.
Recalling the events and efforts made to avoid the strike, the government said it had appointed a committee headed by Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) with Principal Finance Secretary and Principal Secretary Transport as members. “While meeting the unions, the committee explained the precarious financial situation and losses of TSRTC and requested them not to resort to strike, keeping in view the severe inconvenience that would be caused to commuters during Dasara festival season.”
“However, the unions demanded that the committee give in writing the in-principle approval of merger of TSRTC with the government as a pre-condition, which the committee declined. Without bothering about the future of the Corporation and public convenience, the unions went ahead with the strike,” the government said.