THE indefinite strike by unions of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continued for the sixth day on Thursday with the agitating employees staging protests across the state.

With nearly 48,000employees boycotting their duties and state-run buses staying off roads,the RTC said alternative arrangements were made to run bus servicesfrom its own fleet.

Around 11,000 vehicles including buses were being operated.

In a related development, the vacation bench of the Telangana High Court posted to October 15 the hearing on a petition that sought to declare the strike as “illegal.”

The government also submitted before the court a report informing it about the alternative arrangements taken.

However, the court asked the government and TSRTC to file a detailed report before it by October 15.

On Sunday, the court had directed the government to submit a report by today, on the alternative arrangements made in view of the ongoing strike, besides ordering issuance of notices to two unions of RTC.

The RTC unions through their counsels submitted that as per law they had given strike notices to the government.

The petitioner submitted that citizens were facing inconvenience due to non-plying of buses and sought a direction for an amicably settlement on the issue between the government and the union, and resumption of bus services.

Raising slogans against the state government, hundreds of RTC employees took out protest rallies in different places of the state and demanded that the government fulfill their demands.

In Warangal, the protesters accused the police of behaving in high-handed manner after several protesters were taken into preventive custody while they were “holding protest rally in peaceful manner.”

Different employees and workers unions of TSRTC began an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC, demanding merger of the RTC with the government, recruitment to various posts, among others.

On Wednesday, Telangana Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar had warned of stringent action against private bus operators who overcharge passengers.

However, daily commuters in the city complained of delays in plying buses and also less frequency of the vehicles.

They also alleged that they were forced to pay more than the regular rates to auto-rickshaw drivers and other vehicles owners.

“Even after paying more than double charges, such vehicles are overcrowded and one cannot find a seat,” Rafiq, a daily commuter from Golconda to Lakadi-ka-pul said.

With Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao stating that the RTC staff had “self-dismissed” themselves, the JAC of RTC with support from opposition parties on Wednesday said they would intensify their ongoing agitation and would call a state-wide bandh shortly.

Condemning the government’s behaviour, Telangana Mazdoor Union president E Ashwathama Reddy said the strike would continue.

“Notices were served regarding the strike… it is our lawful demand. We have not been given any notices (regarding dismissal notices)”, he said.

Taking a tough stand on the RTC unions strike, the Chief Minister had also made it very clear that under no circumstances the corporation would be merged with the government.

(Courtesy: PTI)

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