HYDERABAD: It would be a tightrope walk for irrigation minister T Harish Rao to convince the agitating TSRTC employees, particularly the Telangana Mazdoor Union (TMU), who are on the warpath against the state government. Being honorary president of TMU, which served strike notice to the government for pay hike, Harish Rao will have to perform a delicate balancing act between the government and the RTC workers. The reason is that while chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has termed the pay hike demand of RTC employees as unjustified, the TMU is still demanding a pay hike.
When finance minister E Rajender held another round of discussions with the TMU representatives at the Secretariat here on Wednesday, the irrigation minister was also invited to the talks. If the chief minister refuses to grant pay hike for RTC staff, Harish Rao’s credibility will be at stake. Therefore, all eyes are on Harish Rao to see if he will convince the union and see that the strike notice is withdrawn or he will prevail upon the chief minister for increasing the salaries of RTC staff. According to sources, Harish Rao did not speak anything at the meeting.
TMU leader Ashwathama Reddy and others explained to the finance minister that the RTC management misguided the chief minister with wrong information. The chief minister, during a review on Tuesday, noted that the pay hike would be an additional burden of Rs 1,400 crore on the corporation. However, Ashwathama Reddy explained to the finance minister that the burden would only be around Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ashwathama Reddy said that the TMU would withdraw the strike notice if the government resolved their issues. He said TMU would constitute an expert committee to study the pay structure in other states’ RTCs and submit a report to the cabinet committee. He alleged that the RTC management furnished wrong information to the government on the financial health of the corporation. However, none of the ministers disclosed the outcome of the meeting to mediapersons after the meeting.