As the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) strike demanding a merger of the corporation with the state government entered its 19th day on Wednesday, protesting workers' termed the K Chandrasekhar Rao government's claim that they have withdrawn their demand for a merger of the TSRTC with the state government as incorrect and 'misleading'.
On Tuesday, with hardly a week to go for the state high court's deadline on ending the stir, the Telangana government said that it had decided to examine other demands of the striking employees of the TSRTC as the employees' unions themselves had "given up" their demand for the merger of the corporation with the government, PTI reported.
However, The News Minute quoted Ashwathama Reddy, working president of the Telangana Mazdoor Union, and leader with the Joint Action Committee (JAC), as saying that the protesters hadn't been called to the negotiating table, hence, the government's claim that they dropped the demand for the merger was "misleading".
"Let them first call us to the negotiating table, all 26 points in our demand letter should be discussed. We have not relaxed our stand," Reddy was quoted as saying by the report.
To examine the demands, TSRTC managing director Sunil Sharma had appointed a committee with the corporation's executive directors. The Telangana Chief Minister's Office has said that the government will submit its report on the matter in the Telangana High Court based on the report to be given by the TSRTC committee.
In the backdrop of the Telangana High Court's directives on the TSRTC strike, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao held a review meeting with the officials at Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
"The Trade Union leaders initially announced that they would come for talks if only the state government announced the merger of the TSRTC with the government. They said merger was their priority. But during the hearing on the TSRTC strike in the high court, they said they would not insist on the merger of the TSRTC with the Government," the statement read, according to ANI.
As per the Telangana Chief Minister's Office, D Prakash Reddy, counsel for the TSRTC trade unions told the court that they never stated that they (the unions) would come for the talks only when the demand of TSRTC's merger with the government is met with.
"With this, it is tantamount that the demand for the merger of TSRTC with the government had been forsaken. The court wanted the government to examine 21 demands as raised by the workers. In tune with the court's order, examine those demands and for this study the demands," the chief minister instructed the officials.
Based on the chief minister's instructions, Sharma who is also the transport commissioner had constituted the committee to examine the 21 issues as directed by the high court and submit a report to the TSRTC MD in a day or two.
According to reports, the Telangana chief minister has inquired with the officials about the alternative arrangements made in the backdrop of the TSRTC strike. The chief minister has also instructed the officials to give notification immediately to take 1,000 buses on rent.
Rao also alleged that it was unethical on the part of BJP and Congress for extending their support to the strike.
"The arguments put forth by the BJP and Congress are surprising. The Narendra Modi government has passed an act giving full powers to the state to privatise the road transport corporations and bus routes. The BJP leaders here are talking against it," the CM said.
Over 49,000 workers have been on strike since 5 October, protesting against the state government's order to sack over 40,000 employees of the TSRTC.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 23, 2019 16:58:05 IST