HYDERABAD: While the rest of the state revelled in the Bathukamma celebrations on Sunday, the women employees of the RTC across the state took the festival to their office premises, in a show of protest.
At Kushaiguda depot, over 100 women conductors of the RTC sang Bathukamma songs in the premises amid heavy police force, deployed to cordon them off to a side. Many of them were not even allowed to enter the depot by the police, after which they resorted to performing celebrations on the road. After the police removed them from there as well, severe altercations ensued.
The protests were done as part of TSRTC JAC’s attempt to appeal to the Telangana sentiment by holding Bathukamma celebrations across various depots in the state.
The women protestors stated that they were once a part of the Telangana struggle and were miffed that the TRS government was turning its back on the promises made during the formation of the state — that of an RTC merger.
“We have given our lifetimes to the corporation. After 20 years of service, my salary is still `20,000,” said P Kaushalya state-level leader of Telangana Mazdoor Union. She was one of the 100 women conductors who played Bathukamma outside the Kushaiguda depot.
Others rued they have faced so many occupational hazards over the years but received only threats from the government. “Our salaries have not been revised in the last 30 months and we don’t even have any benefits, not even maternity leaves. I have spent a lifetime standing in these buses, tackling traffic. We don’t even have proper toilets,” said Yellamma, a woman conductor.