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RTC strike leaves passengers high and dry in Khammam

Khammam: Bus services were hit due to an indefinite strike called by the TSRTC JAC on Saturday even as the RTC management was running bus services by hiring temporary staff in the erstwhile Khammam district.

The passengers faced problems due to strike of the RTC. The people who were coming to their home town for Dasara festival had to make alternate arrangements. The Andhra Pradesh Government had run its bus services to Bhadrachalam, Sathupalli, Aswarao Pet and which are the nearby bus depots of Andhra Pradesh.

The people of Khammam, Kothagudem, Manuguru and Yellandhu depot faced many problems due to lack of bus services. The people were arranged private vehicles like autos and other vehicles for which the private operators charge twice or thrice the normal fare.

On the other hand, Regional Manager SVG Krishna Murthy claimed that despite the strike called by the TSRTC JAC leadership nearly 67 per cent buss operated in the Khammam region on Saturday.

As many as 368 buses, including 183 hired buses were operated in different routes under Khammam, Sathupalli, Madhira, Kothagudem, Manuguru and Bhadrachalam depots. About 196 drivers and conductors were appointed on daily wage basis to run the bus services, he added.

In many places, the striking workers staged protests and shouted slogans against the State government. In all 2,630 workers and employees took part in the strike in the region. The strike was peaceful and there were no untoward incidents. There were no reports of bus services being disrupted by the striking workers, according to officials.

District Collector RV Karnan visited Khammam and Sathupali bus stands and took stock of the situation. At Kothagudem, Superintendent of Police Sunil Dutt inspected the local bus stand.

Heavy police deployment was made at all bus stations and depots where Section 144 was imposed to ensure bus services were not disrupted by the striking workers. Police took into custody the Left parties' leaders who were taking out a protest rally in the city. They also took several JAC leaders into preventive custody.

The strike was peaceful and no untoward incidents were reported anywhere in the district. Telangana Jana Samithi also extended support to RTC JAC's strike and demanded the Chief Minister to hold talks with the leaders to end the strike.

Telangana Mazdoor Union leader PV Babu, Staff and Workers Union leader V Jacob, Telangana National Mazdoor Union leader PV Prasad were taken custody.

CPI(M) secretary N Nageswar Rao, leaders Brahmachary and Narsa Reddy and CPI Khammam district secretary leader B Hemantha Rao were also taken into police custody.

At Bhadrachalam, the TSRTC JAC leaders and activists staged dharna at bus stand demanding immediate release of the JAC and Left parties' leaders. When the police tried to disrupt the protest which caused traffic jam on the road the protestors refused to end their protest and fought with the police. After some time they were also taken into police custody.

Meanwhile, the agitating RTC employees did not pay any heed to the warning given by the Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar that if they failed to report to duties they would cease to be RTC employees.The JAC leaders asserted that they would continue the strike until their demands were met.

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