In a drastic move, Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao while refusing to budge on the primary demand of the RTC Unions to merge the TSRTC into government has ruled out its possibilities and instead ordered for fresh recruitment in the place of those employees who have not attended their duties.
“There are only 1200 employees left in RTC now. Rest of the employees (said to be out of a total of 50,000) are deemed to be removed from services. There is no question of taking them back”, said KCR. He fumed at the RTC unions that went to strike and refused to hold any discussions with them while terming their action as unjust ‘they went to strike especially during the festival season causing trouble to the common people. Moreover, the RTC is incurring a loss of Rs 1200 crore a year in addition to a piled-up Rs 5000 crore debt. Growing diesel prices are also proving burdensome to RTC. Instead of thinking how to bail it, Unions are indulging in blackmailing tactics”, he said and declared that “There is no question of yielding to their blackmailing tactics”. He further declared that their decision to go on a strike is ‘unpardonable’.
He took the hard decision after holding a marathon review meeting on the ongoing RTC strike with the top officials including Ministers Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Vemula Prashanth Reddy, Government’s Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, Special Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, DGP M Mahender Reddy, Principal Secretary (Transport) Sunil Sharma, CMO Principal Secretary S Narsing Rao, CMP Special Secretary Bhoopal Reddy, transport Commissioner Sandeep Sultania, Additional DGP Jitendra etc.
He also formed a committee under the Chairmanship of Sunil Sharma with Sandeep Sultania, RTC Executive Directors, and Joint Transport Commissioner Panduranga Nayakulu as members. The Committee will suggest the government on the modalities to revamp the RTC with immediate effect and submit its proposals by Monday.
The CM instructed that as an immediate measure 2500 private buses should be taken on hire and run them. There are still 4114 private buses and if they are made into State Carriages they would also come under the RTC. Transport and RTC officials are speaking to these operators.
It was decided that in the buses to be run by RTC, fifty per cent would be private buses and the rest would be of the RTC. If measures and action are taken in this direction, buses will run efficiently and the RTC will become profitable in two to three years. The CM wanted RTC to be restored to status quo ante within fifteen days.
The CM wanted the appointment of new employees soon, the newly recruited employees should be given an undertaking that they would not join in any trade union at the time of joining, the new recruits will be put under certain conditions and they will also have a probationary period. Based on which category of employees went on strike, recruitments would be done in those categories.
“For the past 40 years, affairs surrounded by the RTC are full of problems. We have to find a final and permanent solution to this. After Telangana State became a separate State, it is marching ahead in all the sectors. Under such circumstances, a problem like the RTC is often turned into methods that are blackmailing the government. The strike by RTC now is illegal, irresponsible and based on wrong thinking. Now the state should take advantage and find a permanent solution. In states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Manipur, there are no RTCs. They are there nominally in Bihar, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. After Karnataka State, a large number of buses are being run in Telangana State. When we are taking care so well, is there any need for them to go on strike?” the CM asked.
“Whatever we wanted to do for the RTC, first of all, we should keep in mind the people. RTC has skilled and professional management. There is a scope for getting stability in all ways. Before taking any decision, one should maintain equilibrium. It is desirable to have a private partnership as well as the RTC management.
People are angry over the RTC staff who went on strike. There is widespread opposition expressed in social media. People were put to a lot of hardships due to the strike. This is the reason why employees who have reported to duty before the expiry of the deadline will not be taken back. Once the crossed over the main door they will not allow come in.
Though average RTC employee is getting Rs 50,000 per month, there is no justification in demanding pay hike. The government will not bow down to the Union’s blackmail politics, “ the CM clarified.
Some leaders are demanding a meeting of all party representatives to discuss the RTC merger with the government. They have no moral right to talk about RTC. When the CPM was in power in West Bengal did they merge RTC with the government? Did they do that in Kerala? BJP is in power in many states, did they merge the RTCs with the governments? Did any Congress party governments do the merger in any state in which they are ruling? Hence they have no right to talk about it. Demand for an all-party meeting is baseless. The actions taken by the Telangana government should be an eye-opener to all,“ the CM said.
The RTC, there are 1,22,58,433 private vehicles of different types in the State. All these vehicles can be used to transport people. They are removing the transport problems to some extent. Professional skills of RTC management should be utilised. Profits should also be made from the RTC Cargo service.
Do whatever is needed to achieve this. For me, the most important priority item is to make the Telangana State a great one in the country and welfare of the people. Telangana should have a beautiful, excellent, efficient RTC. As far as Hyderabad city is concerned, the government will bear the RTC losses. As on date about one crore, people are travelling on 10400 buses. This facility will continue in future too, said KCR.