Hyderabad: The bandh call given by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Employees Union (APSRTC-EU) and Telangana Mazdoor Union (TMU), hampered the regular bus services starting with the first one on Wednesday across both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

With talks failing late on Tuesday evening, the trade unions gave out their final statement saying they had no option but to go on an indefinite strike. As the hours wore on till 10 a.m., most of the one lakh-odd drivers and conductors did not report for work and as a consequence, buses were confined to the depots.

When contacted, the corporation's Joint Managing Director (Telangana operations) G.V. Ramana Rao said that they were pulling out all the stops and trying to get together the hired buses that the corporation uses, recruiting temporary drivers. "Towards the end of the first half of the day, we are confident of getting some buses on the roads," he told The Hindu.

The corporation has about 3,000 buses on monthly hire basis, including about 1,200 in Telangana State. On the other hand, General Secretary of APSRTC-EU, K. Padmakar pointed out that in all of AP, only six services were run with the help of leaders of the Telugu Nadu Trade Union Congress.

"The 43 per cent fitment/hike we are asking will mean only Rs.500 a day more for a driver who gets a basic pay of Rs.7,000-odd. But it is strange to note that the management is offering Rs.1,000 to temporary drivers," he regretted, referring to the management's desperate measures to get buses out, using temporary drivers.

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