Even 24 hours after the Telangana High Court directive to the state government to hold talks with the agitating state transport corporation employees, there appears to be no visible change in the government’s stand to end the deadlock.
The court had asked the government to hold talks before October 18 and also appoint a Managing Director for the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC). At present, the Transport Secretary, Sunil Kumar, is holding an additional charge as managing director of the Corporation.
When Outlook contacted the chief minister’s office in the afternoon on Thursday, the response was a cryptic “no change in government’s stand till now”. The chief minister had held a late night review of the situation on Wednesday.
Around 50,000 agitating employees are on strike, which moved into its 13th day, asking that TSRTC be made into a government entity as had been done by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh’s government headed by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. They also want their other long-pending demands to be fulfilled.
The Telangana government has remained unmoved even as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various unions and the Osmania University Students Union delivered a threat “to seize Pragati Bhavan”, the official camp office of the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao. Following the court directive, JAC representatives said they would be willing to discuss their demands with the government, if an invite is extended.
The state High Court on Tuesday had chided the government asking “how can you say ‘all is well’ when thousands of commuters were put to inconvenience”. According to sources, the government wants the agitating employees to call off their strike before it considers holding talks with them. The JAC leaders, however, are unwilling to consider this option. “Who is KCR trying to fool,” said one of the JAC leaders on condition of anonymity.
The chief minister had set a deadline of October 5 for the agitating employees to report for duty, failing which they would be deemed to have been ‘self-dismissed’.
This was ridiculed by the unions and almost all the Opposition parties. The state government had extended the vacation in educational institutions from October 14 to 19.
The Centre has taken note of the agitation, which has resulted in death of two agitating employees. It had summoned the state Governor Tamilsai Soundarajan to New Delhi on Tuesday. Soundarajan had met Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.