Hyderabad: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) authorities stepped up efforts to operate as many bus services as possible across the State on Sunday, the second day of the indefinite strike called by the Joint Action Committee of various unions of TSRTC employees and workers..
Sources said that close to 70 per cent of the bus services were operated on Sunday to ensure that public suffer no inconvenience due to the strike in view of the festival season. No untoward incidents were reported on Sunday too. In Karimnagar region, TSRTC officials said, 80 per cent of the buses were operated on different routes comprising Karimnagar, Peddapalli, Jagitial and Rajanna-Sircilla districts. Out of 637 buses, 503 vehicles including 301 RTC and 202 hired services were operated in ten depots limits of the region. RTC officials, who recruited 170 temporary drivers and conductors on the first day of the strike, appointed 301 drivers and conductors on Sunday to run 503 services. In Warangal Region, authorities plied 546 buses against the total of 942 from nine depots, averaging around 60 per cent on Sunday. On Saturday, the authorities could run only 432 buses. In Adilabad, the corporation pressed into service 35 buses belonging to TSRTC, 34 hired buses, 15 private buses and 10 educational institution buses to avoid inconvenience to passengers. The district has a total of 131 buses. In Mancherial, 39 TSRTC buses and 50 hired buses against the total of 141 were operated. As many as 58 buses belonging to TSRTC, 75 hired, nine private buses, four school buses and 85 maxi cabs were plied in Nirmal district as compared to the total fleet of 148 vehicles. In Nizamabad district also, the authorities managed to run more services on Sunday with 423 out of 644 buses operating on the roads. On Saturday, the corporation could operate only 297 services, authorities said, adding that 241 temporary drivers and conductors were appointed in the region in the past two days. JAC seeks support from public With the TSRTC management toughening stand against the indefinite strike, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of RTC employees and workers unions commenced efforts to gather political and public support for their agitation. The RTC staff are planning to launch a hunger strike at Dharna Chowk commencing from Monday, demanding that the State governement resolve their demands. The JAC representatives led by its convenor and Telangana Mazdoor Union president E Ashwathama Reddy met Congress Legislative Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, Telangana Jana Samithi president professor M Kodandaram, MRPS founder Manda Krishna Madiga, leaders of Left parties and other civil organisations on Sunday. Speaking to mediapersons, Ashwathama Reddy said all major Opposition parties and civil organisations had extended their support to the RTC strike. He said efforts were being made to hire about 2,500 private buses in an attempt to privatise TSRTC as was feared by the RTC staff. “RTC, which has been rendering services to the poor and the needy, will become inaccessible to them in case of privatisation,” he said. Ashwathama Reddy alleged that the TSRTC management did not release salaries of its staff for September till now and urged Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to direct the officials concerned to release salaries ahead of Dasara festival. He requested the Chief Minister to consider the demands of RTC staff with a humanitarian approach. He also urged people to support their cause. Day 2 of RTC stir makes little impact Sunday usually being a lean traffic day, the RTC strike on the second day failed to have much impact on the city life. The RTC on Sundays operates a skeletal service in the absence of office, school and college going rush and today the authorities managed to run some buses in different parts of the city and outskirts. With many families leaving for their native places for Dasara festival, the impact on intra-city commuting was not felt much. The Metro Rail services apart from MMTS services remained in demand while autorickshaw and cab drivers continued to fleece commuters for the second day, charging exorbitant fares even for shorter distances. Those heading for shopping or trying to reach railway stations for their onward inter-district or inter-State journey were made to shell out more by auto and cab drivers. For those heading to other other parts of the State, the RTC authorities deployed 900 buses on Sunday as against 790 on Saturday at key bus stations like Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) and Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS). From JBS, the authorities operated several buses to Vemulawada, Banswada, Siddipet, Medak and Nizamabad. V Venkateshwarlu, Executive Director (GHZ), Hyderabad, said they would increase the number of services to clear the festive rush. “Already some staffers including drivers and conductors have reported and we are expecting more to join,” he said. On the other hand, there were several complaints against private buses charging higher fares from Hyderabad to other parts of the State. Some commuters complained that they were being charged in excess by the temporary staff operating RTC buses. “I was charged Rs 400 and was not even issued a ticket,” said Harish, who was travelling from Hyderabad to Nizamabad in a RTC deluxe bus. Taking advantage of the strike, autorickshaw drivers continued to fleece passengers heading to bus and railway stations. “I had to pay the autorickshaw driver Rs 300 from Mehdipatnam to Secunderabad,” said Madhava Rao. Meanwhile, those who had booked bus tickets online days ago requested the authorities to refund the money on cancelled tickets. “The amount is not getting refunded and there is no response for my calls and mails,” said a commuter V Raju. High Court hears PIL on TSRTC strike A two judge bench of the Telangana High Court comprising Justice. A Rajasekhara Reddy and Justice Abhishek Reddy assembled for a special session on Sunday to hear a PIL relating to the ongoing strike by employees of TSRTC. Subendhu Singh a students from the campus college of Osmania University complained in his PIL that the strike was illegal and was causing great inconvenience to the public at large. The petitioner sought directions to the government to immediately stall the agitation. Advocate General BS Prasad and Additional Advocate General Ramachandra Rao appeared for the government, clearly conveying how serious the government was about the matter. The Principle Law Officers of the State informed the bench about all necessary steps taken to ensure minimum inconvenience to the public at large. It was also pointed out that the parties were engaged before the conciliatory officer of the Trade Unions Act. However the Union withdrew unilaterally from the conciliation process. The bench granted time to the government to file a counter on October 10 and in the meanwhile to take steps necessary to ensure no there was no inconvenience to the public..