HYDERABAD: For the first time after they went on strike 10 days ago, the TSRTC staff on Monday allowed themselves the luxury of hope for an early end to the impasse before Deepavali, with signals emanating from the government that it may not be averse to holding talks with them.
Though the leaders of the TSRTC employees’ unions held their ground, saying the demand to merge the corporation with the government was not negotiable, the staff were finding it tough to survive the battle of nerves with the government. Two of them have ended their lives and two more attempted suicide, lending an element of poignancy to their agitation.
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Hopes soared when TRS Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao issued a statement earlier in the day saying TSRTC staff should hold talks with the government and find a logical solution to their demands, barring the merger of the corporation with the government since it was not promised in the TRS party’s manifesto.
This is a significant departure from the state government’s stand that it would not, under any circumstances, hold talks with employees of the TSRTC and that those who were on strike should consider themselves out of the organisation. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, on more than one occasion, made this very clear.
Keshava Rao, in his statement, said his heart went out to the family members of the TSRTC staff who committed suicide, and felt that it was not the way to address the issue. He urged the TSRTC staff to call off their strike before it went out of hand. “The government is always considerate to the issues of the TSRTC employees,” he said and felt that felt that the alternative plan the chief minister proposed — reducing the TRSTC fleet by half and meeting 30 per cent of the remaining requirement by taking buses on hire, and the balance by issuing permits to private buses as stage carriages — must be viewed as an experiment against the backdrop of he ongoing agitation.
No promise of merger in manifesto: govt
TRS Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao said the protesting TSRTC employees should hold talks with the government and find a logical solution to their demands, barring the merger of the corporation with the government since this was not promised in the TRS party’s manifesto. The government had earlier said it would not hold talks with the protesting staff
‘TRS manifesto is not the Bhagavad Gita’
Asked how the TSRTC staff could seek a merger with the government when it was not listed in the TRS manife-sto, TSRTC Employees Unions JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy said the manifesto was not the Bhagavad Gita. But he added that the staff would approach the govt with an open mind even if it insists that the demand for a merger be outside the scope of the talks
Another employee attempts suicide
An TSRTC employee attempted suicide by slashing his hand during a protest at the HCU depot in Hyderabad on Monday. Fellow protesters prevented A Sandeep, a ticket-machine operator, from inflicting further damage on himself. Two TSRTC employees have already committed suicide. The staff have not been given their salaries for September, and the corporation owes them about `225 crore in dues
Not opposed to strike, says Telangana JAC
Officials of the Joint Action Committee of Telangana Employees, Gazetted Officers, Teachers, Pensioners and Workers on Monday said they were not against the strike, and would take initiative to speak to RTC employees to end the agitation