Hyderabad, Oct 8 (IANS) The indefinite strike by employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continued for a fourth day on Tuesday as their Dussehra celebrations were overshadowed by the uncertainty over their future.
Buses of state-owned transport utility remained off the roads, causing inconvenience to commuters.
The festival, however, saw a pause in the war of words between the employees and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, who has already ruled out taking back 48,000 striking employees into the TSRTC.
There was no statement from either the government or the leaders of the striking employees.
Hardening his stand, Rao stated on Monday that the government did not dismiss anybody but employees dismissed themselves by not joining duties before the expiry of Saturday 6 p.m. deadline set by the government. “They have cut the branch of the tree on which they were sitting,” he said after a review meeting late Monday.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, reiterated that only 1,200 employees are left in the TSRTC. He also directed officials to recruit new employees.
The Chief Minister’s statements raised question mark on the future of the striking employees, who vowed to continue the strike till the government meets their demands.
Daring the Chief Minister to issue the sack orders, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of employee unions threatened to challenge the same in the court.
Both KCR and JAC leaders accused each other of being arrogant. The Chief Minister blamed the employee unions for the strike and declared that there will be no more “unionism” in the organisation.
JAC leader Ashwathama Reddy, however, said the unions will continue to exist as long as there is the RTC.
KCR has already ruled out merger of the TSRTC with the government, one of the major demands of the striking employees. He also made it clear that no talks will be held with them.
Angering the striking employees further, KCR announced the trifurcation of the TSRTC. While stating that there will be no full privatisation of the corporation, he said it would own and operate 50 per cent of 10,400 buses. Thirty per cent of buses will be hired ones, which will be operated under the control of TSRTC while another 20 per cent will be private buses.
TSRTC officials claimed that they were operating half of the total bus fleet with the help of temporary employees.