The Telangana government has decided to examine the demands of the agitating workers and employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), as the latter have dropped the demand for merger of their services with the Government. A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao at Pragathi Bhavan here on Tuesday. A six-member committee headed by the Transport Secretary and acting TSRTC MD Sunil Sharma to examine the 21 demands as suggested by the High Court and submit its report to the RTC MD in a day or two. 

The other members of the committee are TSRTC ED T Venkateshwar Rao, A Purushotham, C Vinod Kumar E yadagiri, V Venkateshwarlu and financial advisor N Ramesh.

The government’s decision comes in the backdrop of the TSRTC strike entering the 18th day and the written observations of the Telangana High Court reaching the Government on Tuesday morning. “The TSRTC union leaders have earlier declared that they would hold talks with Government only if their demand for merger of services was considered. They declared it as their main demand. But during the arguments in the High Court, they maintained that they would not insist on this demand. The advocate representing the unions also maintained this stand. The directives issued by the High Court also mentioned this point. That indicates that the TSRTC employees have given up on this demand. The court has directed the government to examine 21 issues in the demands listed out. We should do accordingly”, the Chief Minister was quoted as instructing the officials during the meeting.

According to an official communique issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, Chandrashekhar Rao enquired from officials about the arrangements made by the corporation to tackle the situation arising out of the 18-day-long strike. He instructed the officials to hire 1000 more buses immediately.

Dubbing the support extended by the Opposition parties as ‘Unethical’, the Chief Minister questioned whether the BJP and Congress were implement the similar demands in the states ruled by their parties.

“Narendra Modi government has recently brought an act empowering the privatisation of the routes and the RTCs. But the BJP leaders here are speaking against that decision. In Madhya Pradesh, the then Congress chief Minister Digvijay Singh had closed down the state run transport corporation, but the Congress leaders were here speaking contrarily”, the Chiwf minister pointed out.

The Road Trasnport corporations were formed according to the Motor Vehicle Act enacted when Jawaharl Nehru was the Prime Minsiter in 1950. According to this act, private vehicles were not to be permitted on the routes operated by teh RTCs. But Narendra Modi government had amended this act in 2019 budget session to encourage a healthy competition to the RTCs. State Governments were also asked to encourage a healthy competition saying that it was imperative to ensure cheap travel for people. 

The centre also said that in the fields of mobile communications and air travel, similar measures had benefitted the people a lot. “But the BJP leaders in the state were coming up with peculiar arguments in support of the strike by RTC”, Chandrashekhar Rao pointed out.

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