Government, unions adamant

Government, unions adamant

There appears to be no let off in the TSRTC strike at least for the next couple of days as the government is in no mood to bring the unions to the negotiating table.

Hyderabad: There appears to be no let off in the TSRTC strike at least for the next couple of days as the government is in no mood to bring the unions to the negotiating table.

Though Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao reviewed the situation during a 4-hour long meeting with senior officials of the Transport department focussed more on the alternative arrangements that were made by the department and not on finding a solution to the ongoing stalemate between he TSRTC employees and the government.

In the process, people continued to suffer. Even on day two of the strike no employee reported for duty, but the government remained firm on its decision to sack all those who refused to report for duty.

Though officials claimed that they were operating more buses than usual and presented statistics to the effect to the Chief Minister, the ground situation was entirely different.

People going to their native places to celebrate Dasara faced several problems due to non-availability of buses. The Transport department gave temporary permits to private operators but with no proper system in place, it proved to be a haphazard act.

The private operators fleeced the passengers and if the employee unions are to be believed, these buses did not deposit any revenue with the depots. They charged as they liked and pocketed the money, JAC leader Aswardhama Reddy said.

There was no proper timings or schedule. It was almost free-for-all type of exercise, the union leaders claimed.

Reports from districts indicate that most of the buses did not move out of depots. While the government has taken a stand that there was no question of merger of TSRTC with the government and that they had never promised to do so and blame the employees for pushing the TSRTC into further financial crisis by going on strike, the employees blame the government for the mounting losses.

According to EU general secretary K Raji Reddy, total losses of RTC is Rs 3,000 crore. The state government has issued several passes to various categories of people but has not been reimbursing that amount which is to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore.

TSRTC also pays Rs 300 crore to the government towards tax on diesel and Rs 300 crore as Motor Vehicle tax. In addition, the government has recently imposed a cess of Rs 2.5 crore on diesel. Apart from this, it has to pay 5 per cent VAT and on the top of it is not allowed to hike the passenger fare, he said.

The union leaders alleged that the government was not serious in illegal transportation by the private operators. The private operators take licence under contract carriages but operate the buses on stage carriage basis.

The workers feel that if the Corporation is merged with the government, it can get exemption in payment of taxes on diesel and MV Tax. It will also ensure job security.

If at least one per cent should be allocated in budget to procure new buses, it will increase efficiency and on the other hand the government can get the properties of the Corporation, which are valued about Rs 20,000 crore, said the union leaders.

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