HYDERABAD: Encouraged by the support the striking TSRTC workers were getting from trade unions, political parties, caste-based groups and people in general, Telangana Jana Samithi chief M Kodandaram, leaders of the TSRTC JAC, and those of other Opposition parties warned that if the state government did not accept the TSRTC workers’ demands, they would organise agitations, rasta-rokos and rallies, and if the government still did not listen to them, they would organise a ‘Million March’ along the lines of the one held during the Telangana movement on Tank Bund, which took the movement to its peak.
Addressing a well-attended public meeting ‘Sakala Janula Samarabheri’ organised by the TSRTC JAC with the permission of the high court at Saroornagar Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday, the leaders, while asking the TSRTC staff not to get disheartened, called upon them to stay united and fight for their rights. “If needed, we will organise Million March in Hyderabad once again,” Kodandaram said.
Coming down heavily on CM K Chandrasekhar Rao, Congress MP A Revanth Reddy alleged that the former forced the workers to go on strike as he intended to privatise the TSRTC. Justifying the workers’ demand to merge the corporation with the government, he sought to know why the government could not do this. “KCR claims the RTC merger was not in his party’s poll manifesto, and hence he can’t do it. Is privatisation of RTC in your poll agenda? Why are you doing it?” he asked.
CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy urged TSRTC workers not to get discouraged by the chief minister’s comments about the fate of the corporation as they would not let the issue die down. Veteran Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member V Hanumanth Rao accused the CM of privatising TSRTC to sell its property. “When KCR was transport minister in the TDP government, he identified RTC properties and is now trying to sell them to get a commission,” he alleged.
Calling KCR a cheat, BJP leader AP Jitender Reddy stated that the chief minister was quoting the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019 to privatise the TSRTC and mislead people. The Act only allows the state government to privatise a small percentage of the fleet, he pointed out. TDP state chief L Ramana said KCR had done a great mistake by provoking TSRTC workers as their agitation would destroy his arrogance.
RTC JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy stated that they would continue the strike till the government accepts all their demands. MRPS founder Manda Krishna Madiga, TDP leader Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy, RTC JAC co-convenor Thomas Reddy and Raji Reddy were present at the event.
Meanwhile, photos of all RTC workers, who died after the CM announced that those who did not resume duty stood dismissed, were put up. The workers paid homage to them and stated that their sacrifice would not go waste.
Another Driver dies of heart attack
During the meeting, at which a moment of silence was observed for the TSRTC staff who died during the strike, RTC driver N Babu, 45, suffered a heart attack. He died while being taken to hospital. He had come from Karimnagar to attend the meeting