HYDERABAD: After two weeks of uncertainty, decks seem to have been cleared for talks between Telangana State Transport Corporation (TSRTC) management and its employees’ unions. The prospects of talks became bright after a division bench of the Telangana High Court on Friday asked the TSRTC to hold talks with the employees’ unions at the earliest since the unions were saying that merger of the corporation with the government, would not be a pre-requisite for talks and submit a report by October 28.
The employees’ unions are keeping their powder dry as they do not know when the management would call them for talks while simultaneously getting ready for the bandh they had called for on Saturday.
The High Court’s directive came in the wake of the State government taking a tough stand that under no circumstances, the employees’ unions would be called for talks and all the employees (about 48,000) who did not report for duty should consider themselves as dismissed from service.
Though the additional advocate general tried to defend the decision of the government, the High Court rode over him, asking him whether the government had done anything to end the strike though people have been suffering on account of public transportation coming to a halt.
The court even warned the government that if agitation of the employees continues, it might go out of control and if the government may not be able to contain it when it finally becomes unmanageable. The High Court also did not take kindly to the argument that a full time MD has not been appointed for the TSRTC because the corporation was already under financial stress and it would not matter if a full time MD is appointed or not.
TSRTC JAC convenor E Aswathama Reddy welcomed the High Court’s decision and said that the unions were ready for talks and that they had made this stand clear to the government on more than one occasion.
He, however, said though the court directed the government to call the unions for talks, it did not mean the strike is off. “The talks and strike will continue simultaneously,” he said and pointed out that there would be no compromise on any of their 42 demands including the one related to merger of the corporation with the government.
RTA intends to operate 50% of RTC fleet today
All depots are slated to be blocked from early morning hours, in a bid to stop the 6,000 odd buses that are being put in place since the strikes began. Speaking to Express, TSRTC JAC convenor E Ashwathama Reddy stated that they have got overwhelming support from the public and intend to continue their pressure on the officials. “We will be supported by the people of Telangana who have seen our plight and our struggle,” said Ashwathama Reddy, TSRTC JAC Convenor. Meanwhile, senior officials from the RTA were confident that they would be able to provide basic transportation facilities to the people. “We intend to run 50 per cent of the buses, in addition to autos, metros, and trains,” said a senior RTA official