The indefinite strike by unions of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation entered the second day on Sunday as a majority of buses continued to stay off the roads across the state, causing inconvenience to commuters, particularly Dasara festival travellers.
With nearly 50,000 employees boycotting work and buses of the state-owned TSRTC staying off the roads since Friday midnight across Telangana, the state government made alternative arrangements and engaged services of temporary drivers and conductors to operate buses.
The strike was called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of different employees and workers unions of TSRTC demanding merger of the RTC with the government, recruitment to various posts, job security to drivers and conductors, implementation of Pay Scale Revision 2017 recommendations, removal of taxes on diesel among others.
Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar on Saturday said the government has decided to come out with a new permanent alternative transportation policy in view of the RTC strike to see to it that the people are not put to hardship.
A high-level review meeting on the issue likely to be chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao later on Sunday, during which the alternative policy will be firmed up.
The Transport Minister had on Saturday warned that RTC employees who fail to report to duty by 6 p.m on Saturday shall cease to be treated as staff of the corporation and they would not be taken back in future.
Sources said that around 150 of the nearly 50,000 employees had reported for work following the government deadline for employees to resume work.
Raising slogans against the state government, the staff took out protest rallies in different districts on Sunday.
The union leaders said they would hold a day-long fast on Monday in Hyderabad and warned the agitation would be intensified and they will meet leaders of political parties and trade unions seeking their support.
TSRTC has a fleet of around 10,400 buses and authorities made arrangements to operate bus services from its own fleet, by hiring buses and vehicles of educational institutions besides issued route permits to private buses.
However, passengers complained that they were forced to pay more than the regular fare.
A passenger said she had been waiting for long time to catch a bus at MGBS here to reach her destination and said she had no option but to wait and pay more charge.
An official in Adilabad district said as per the government’s instructions alternate arrangements were made to ply buses and over 50 per cent services were being operated.
“No untoward incident has been reported and the strike was going on peacefully,” the official said.
Earlier, the Transport minister also said the government was examining three options, including hiring 3,000 to 4,000 private buses, inviting applications from young men and women possessing driving licence to operate RTC buses and provide employment to them.
He said that they would be adequately trained to operate the buses.
The union leaders said they decided to go on strike after government ‘failed’ to meet their demands including merger of the corporation with the government.
They said several notices with regard to the strike were given to the government earlier.
Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited Managing Director NVS Reddy said Metro was running extra hours in Hyderabad and following the RTC strike a large number of people mostly daily commuters by buses opted to take Metro services.