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Telangana State government should resolve striking RTC staff's issues

Telangana State government should resolve striking RTC staff
Highlights

Two factors have dampened the festive mood this Dasara in Telangana.

Two factors have dampened the festive mood this Dasara in Telangana. One, the rains that refuse to withdraw and two, the indefinite strike by the workers of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), who have been seeking its merger with the government.

While a lot of noise is being made in the last two days and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has been holding meetings with officials, the issue continues to be unresolved.

But what one fails to understand is why did the government not make any effort to prevent the strike since the day the notice was served on it. The new State has been formed with many aspirations and expecting many changes in governance.

But as far as the TSRTC is concerned, the situation has been going from bad to worse. Before bifurcation, the TRS had blamed the then governments for lack of vision which had pushed the organisation into heavy losses.

The employees were assured that if the State of Telangana was formed, their prospects would change. The employees jumped into the forefront and played a key role in the agitation. Soon after the formation of new State, Chandrashekar Rao announced a bonanza for them. They were given a fitment of 46 percent.

T Harish Rao, who was heading one of the unions during the agitation, had played important role in ensuring that the TRS led unions win the elections with thumping majority. The employees felt that a new era would now dawn on the corporation.

But five years down the lane, the employees rue that situation had gone from bad to worse. The financial crisis has further deepened as losses increased manifold. At this point of time, the Andhra Pradesh government merged the APSRTC with the government.

This has now led to the TSRTC also to come with the demand for merger of the loss making corporation with the government.

But the government is not willing to do so. It says it never made this promise. This is where the rift between the government and the TSRTC had taken place and led to a situation where the employees chose to go on strike during Dasara time to put pressure on the government.

The government, instead of taking early measures to resolve the issue, kept quiet till eleventh hour and threatened the employees with dire consequences of sacking them. It boasted that had plan B in place.

But the ground reality indicates that plan B prepared by the officials did not succeed and the people are facing the impact of the strike not knowing whom to blame, the RTC or the government.

Unfortunately, administrative set up in the country seems to be adopting a new style of functioning. Give tailor made reports to their political bosses instead of coming up with practical solutions.

While claiming that they would recruit new drivers and conductors, the officials seem to have ignored or forgotten that buses are not run just by drivers and conductors.

It needs administrative back up at respective depots. The depot managers have a very crucial role to play. There should be checks and balances at every stage which cannot be created overnight.

The very fact that hardly 160 employees reported for duty to meet the deadline set by the government and that the buses did not move out of depots on day two indicates that the officials miscalculated the impact of the strike.

The employees' salaries too are yet to be released but still they are refusing to budge. The government instead of making it a prestige issue should first try and defuse the situation, hold series of talks with unions, convince them on the government stand as to why they are against merger of the corporation with the government and come with ideas to pull TSRTC out of red.

Unfortunately, the government does not appear to be moving in that direction and is instead coming with ideas like privatising some routes etc which at this point of time would be rubbing salt on the wounds of the employees.

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