HYDERABAD: Hyderabad police has denied permission to striking employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) for their proposed march in the city on Saturday.
Leaders of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC employees on Friday called on Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar to seek permission for ‘chalo Tankbund’ programme as part of their ongoing strike over various demands.
Police, however, denied the permission on the ground that the protest march in the heart of the city could create law and order problems.
Following this decision, police started preventive arrests of employees’ leaders in various parts of the state. JAC leader Raji Reddy was taken into custody in Hyderabad.
JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy, however, told reporters that they would go ahead with the protest. He discussed the latest situation with other leaders of JAC. He asked the employees not to get scared by the threats from the government and reach Hyderabad to participate in the protest.
The indefinite strike by over 48,000 employees entered the 35th day on Friday. They continued protests in Hyderabad and 32 other districts to press for their demands.
Almost all the employees ignored the government’s final deadline to return to work, which ended November 5 midnight. Less than 500 employees resumed their duties.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had warned the employees that if they failed to return, there would be no entity called RTC in the state. He had also threatened to privatise the remaining 5,000 bus routes.
The state cabinet on November 2 had decided to issue permits to private operators to run buses on 5,100 routes.
The Telangana High Court on Thursday had asked the state government to look into the employees’ demands and take steps to resolve the issue by November 11, when the next hearing on Public Interest Litigations (PILs) is scheduled. The court appealed to the government to reconsider its hard stand on the strike.
The court observed that both the government and the TSRTC are not coming forward to resolve the issue. It also found fault with the officials for submitting contradictory reports with regard to the money the government owes to the TSRTC towards reimbursement of the travel concession given to different categories of commuters.
Talks held by the TSRTC with JAC leaders last month on the court’s direction had failed to end the deadlock as both sides stuck to their stands.
Adding a new twist to the stalemate, the Centre conveyed to the court that bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) into two entities was not recognised by it and hence the TSRTC has no existence as a separate legal entity.