Telangana Transport Strike Enters Day 15; 50,000 Cabs off Roads
The statewide strike by Telangana State Road Transport Corporation has entered the 15th day of protest.
It has been 15 days since the employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) called for a statewide strike against the KCR government. More than 48,000 employees have abstained from work since 5 October demanding salary hikes, merger of the TSRTC with the state government and recruitment to various posts.
More than 50,000 cabs are off the roads and Ola and Uber cab drivers too have joined in, demanding regularisation of the ride-hailing market.
All schools and colleges have been closed till Monday. People are using private vehicles to reach airport and railway station. Shops and other establishments have also been closed at several places.
The protest passed off peacefully on Saturday, barring a few stray incidents of pelting of stones at buses. Some protesters were even taken into preventive custody.
RTC has been running services by deploying temporary drivers and conductors.
On Saturday, 516 buses were operated till 6 pm in the state, a release from RTC read.
The TRS-led government had called the strike ‘illegal’ as it caused a lot of inconvenience to the public, reported News 18.
Since the first day of the strike, two employees have ended their lives and three have attempted suicide, said the media report.
Parties, Employees Join the Protest
Opposition parties including Congress, BJP, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), Jana Sena, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), trade unions, and various organisations of employees, teachers and workers have extended their support and even joined the protests. BJP leader and former MLC P Sudhakar Reddy claimed that their state unit president K Laxman and party MLC N Ramachander Rao were shifted to a police station while holding a protest, reported PTI.
CPI(ML) New Democracy joint secretary V Ranga Rao claimed that his index finger was cut during a protest march. K Laxman, state BJP chief, who was among the many leaders taken into custody amid protests, criticised KCR for not paying heed to their demands.
“KCR is being autocratic, like a monarch. He does not want to listen to anyone, not even to the courts who said the government must hold talks. We are sending a report to the central BJP leadership on this.”K Laxman, Telangana BJP Chief
Urgency to Resolve the Issue
Telangana Jana Samiti president M Kodandaram demanded to know why the government was not inviting protesting employees for talks, when the Telangana High Court had directed the government, RTC and the employees to hold talks to resolve the issue. The division bench had told the state to hold talks and submit a report by 28 October. The employees have warned that the strike will be intensified if the government fails to address their grievances.
Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on 17 October urged the government and RTC management to take all necessary steps for alternate transport arrangements.
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