Hyderabad: Public transport services in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remained paralysed on Wednesday as over one lakh emoloyees went on a strike, forcing about 20,000 state-owned buses off the roads in the two states.

All long-distance buses and city services came to a grinding halt across the two states, causing severe inconvenience to passengers.

In Andhra Pradesh, a total of 10,576 Andhra Pradesh Transport Corporation Service (APSRTC) buses went off the roads while in Telangana 9,370 buses were confined to depots. Students, office goers, holidayers and pilgrims in Tirupati were hit hard by the strike.

The employees went on strike from midnight, demanding 43 pay revision at par with the other government employees in the two states.

The APSRTC management has turned down the demand citing poor financial condition of the organisation and also the bifurcation process which is under process.

The management is trying to use the services of contract employees to operate some services. This led to a clash between striking employees and the contract workers in some parts of Telangana.

Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) in Hyderabad, from where thousands of buses are operated everyday to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and other neighbouring states, wore a deserted look.

Hundreds of commuters were stranded at the MGBS, Jubliee Bus Station in Secunderabad and bus stations in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati and other places. As many as 3,500 buses went off the roads in Greater Hyderabad.

APSRTC managing director N. Sambasiva Rao said the demand for hike in wages can be met only by increasing the bus fares by 15 to 20 percent.

He also said it was not possible to meet the demand at this stage as the APSRTC is to be bifurcated into two units for the two states from May 14.

Telangana's Transport Minister Mahender Reddy has appealed to the employees to call off their strike in view of the hardships caused to people, adding that the RTC was making efforts to operate partial services.

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