Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Sunday said there was no question of holding any further talks with the JAC of TSRTC workers and employees’ unions and also dismissed suggestions of a merger of the corporation with the government..
“The government will start a new chapter in the history of the TSRTC. The government is not ready to compromise its position since the JAC went on an illegal strike during the festival season despite knowing that the corporation had accumulated losses of Rs 1,200 crore and had debt of Rs 5,000 crore,” he said, at a marathon high level meeting at Pragathi Bhavan to discuss the strike issue. Stating that the government will not tolerate indiscipline and blackmailing tactics with regard to RTC, he said that about 1,200 employees and workers who had reported for duty before the Saturday 6pm deadline set by the government would be treated as employees. The remaining will not be taken back for duty, he said. As an immediate measure to tackle the situation arising out of the indefinite strike, the government, he said, had asked the TSRTC management to hire 2,500 buses. Besides, another 4,114 private buses will be given permits as ‘stage carriers.’ “TSRTC and Transport department officials are holding discussions with private operators in this regard,” he said, and directed officials to take up recruitment of new staff including drivers and conductors and ensure that they sign an agreement that they will not be part of any trade union in future. The recruitment will be conditional and their services will be regularised after the probation period, the Chief Minister said. He said 50 per cent of the TSRTC fleet will comprise private vehicles. He directed the officials to restore normalcy in RTC operations in the next 15 days. The government appointed a committee headed by Principal Secretary (Transport) Sunil Sharma to make recommendations for strengthening the corporation. Transport Commissioner Sandip Kumar Sulthania, Joint Transport Commissioner Panduranga Naikulu and TSRTC executive directors will be members of the committee which will submit its recommendations on Monday. “The RTC issue goes back to 40 years, and we need to find permanent solutions to the problems faced by the corporation. Telangana has been in the forefront on various fronts after State formation, but issues like RTC have become a burden on the government,” he said. He pointed out that several States like Madhya Pradeh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Manipur do not have State-run corporations, while it is minimal in other States like Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, among others. “After Karnataka, TSRTC has the highest number of buses in operations,” he observed, and wondered why the JAC chose to go on strike when TSRTC was being looked after well. The TSRTC boasts of a professional and skilled management which can stabililse the corporation’s operations and streamline its functioning. “People of the State should be the point of focus for any further decision to be taken for the RTC in future,” he said. “We need to strike a balance between RTC management and private participation in operating public transport,” he said, adding that people are peeved with the RTC staff for going on strike. “Hence, there is no question of taking back those who had crossed the threshold,” he said. Some political parties are demanding an all party meeting to discuss the RTC merger with the government, but they have no moral right to do so, he said, and pointed out that CPI (M) which was in power in West Bengal and Kerala did not merge RTC with the respective governments. Neither did BJP or Congress in State where they are in power, he said, and dismissed the demand for an all party meeting..