Telangana Guv finally gives consent to TSRTC merger bill

The Governor, who met with state authorities on Sunday afternoon, expressed her approval along with few recommendations.

Hyderabad: Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Sunday signed the TSRTC merger bill with some recommendations to the state government after intense drama involving massive protests by the transport body’s employees demanding the Governor not delay signing the bill.

The Governor, who met with state authorities on Sunday afternoon, expressed her approval as well as a few recommendations. These include vested ownership of the TSRTC’s lands, assets, and properties in the Corporation for its single and exclusive use, even after the RTC personnel are absorbed as government employees. She believes the government should make a clear commitment to this end.

After seeking two rounds of clarifications from the state government and receiving a response from the latter, the governor has called a meeting of officials of the transport department and the Roads and Buildings department at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.

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Tamilisai returned to Hyderabad on Sunday from Puducherry, where she holds the additional charge of Lieutenant Governor.

As Sunday is the last day of the Assembly session, uncertainty prevails on whether the bill will receive the governor’s approval for introduction.

Transport minister P Ajay Kumar held a meeting with Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy to discuss the introduction of the bill immediately after receiving approval from Raj Bhavan.

Since it is a money bill, it needs the Governor’s approval to be introduced in the Assembly.

After the government submitted a reply to the clarifications sought on Friday, the governor sought some more clarifications on Saturday.

In a press communique issued on Saturday night, the Raj Bhavan said the governor has sought further clarifications on the bill.

Recommendations to state government

In a list of ten recommendations, the Governor also urged that the assets be finally split and the process between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh be completed in accordance with the AP Reorganization Act.

She also recommended that the emoluments of the RTC employees, once absorbed as government employees, be on the same scale as other State government employees following pay scales and that all service rules and regulations regarding salary, transfers, promotions, retirement pensions or provident funds, and other gratuities be clarified and accepted.

She additionally recommended that TSRTC personnel who have already been absorbed be able to obtain compassionate appointments for family members on medical grounds if the employee becomes unsuitable for duty.

The draft bill of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (Absorption of Employees into Government Service) Bill, 2023, aimed at absorbing over 43,000 employees of TSRTC into the government service, was sent to the governor on Wednesday.

Protests, discussions on Saturday

On Saturday, following state-wide protests, including a march to the Raj Bhavan by TSRTC employees, the Governor reached out to them and held talks at her residence. On the other hand, she also asked for clarification from the BRS-led state government regarding some subjects in the draft bill.

The BRS government, quite swiftly, sent point-to-point clarification to the Governor on the five questions posed by her.

In a letter addressed to the Governor’s Secretary, the chief secretary of the Telangana government also requested the Governor to recommend the proposed bill be introduced in the state legislature.

On July 31, the state cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, took a decision to merge the TSRTC with the government. If the bill goes through, 43,373 employees of the corporation will be treated as government staff.

(With inputs from IANS)

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