- They left by themselves, they did not report before deadline expired: KCR
- KCR said only 1,200 employees work with the transport department now
- Nearly 50,000 employees have been dismissed from service
The 48,000 employees of the Telangana transport department (RTC) dismissed themselves of service after they failed to report to work before the expiry of the deadline on Saturday, Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao said, adding that only 1,200 employees work with the transport department now.
"From the point of view of the government and RTC, the employees are only 1,200. There is no need for the government to dismiss others. Nobody dismissed anybody. They left all by themselves as they did not report to duties before the expiry of the deadline, they have self-dismissed themselves," KCR said in a press release on Monday.
The workers were sacked after they refused to end their two-day protest and join work by 6 pm on Saturday. Mr Rao a.k.a KCR has ruled out any negotiation with the sacked employees, saying that the committed an "unpardonable crime" by refusing to work during the festive season and at a time when the transport department was incurring a huge loss of Rs. 1,200 crore.
"I have asked the DGP to form special teams to prevent RTC employees who left the organisation from creating disturbances at the bus depots or bus stations. The DGP would take appropriate action against anyone except 1,200," he said.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is leading the strike has ruled out calling off the protest till their 26 demands including merger of the TSRTC with the government, are accepted.
JAC, comprising various employee unions, and KCR both accused each other of being arrogant. While deciding to intensify the strike, the employees said they would challenge their sacking in the court.
Mr Rao said the employees union has been using such tactics even when the Telugu Desam Party and the Congress were ruling the state (then part of Andhra Pradesh).
"They have cut the branch of a tree on which they were sitting on. All these measures are taken due to the 40 years of bulldozing. The RTC unions, which went on strike during the TDP and Congress regimes, have resorted to strike even under the TRS rule," he said.
Nearly 50,000 employees and workers of the road transport corporation had been on strike since Friday midnight, with a list of 26 demands including the merger of the corporation with the government so that they become government employees and are entitled to the benefits that come along. As a result, many state buses stayed off the roads causing inconvenience to thousands in the festival season.
KCR has directed officials to divide the existing TSRTC fleet of 10,400 buses into three categories. While 50 per cent of buses (5,200) belong to the TSRTC and they will remain under it, 30 per cent of the buses (3,100) buses hired will run under the TSRTC supervision and administration. Another 20 percent of the buses (2,100) belong totally to private operators and they will be allowed to ply as the state carriages. TSRTC is currently running 21 per cent hired buses.
The BJP has alleged that the sacking of the employees is part of a "well thought-out plan" by the chief minister to merge assets of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) with the state government. The move was planned to create fear and uncertainty amongst the employees and bring division within employee unions, it said.
"TSRTC has very valuable assets in the form of high value lands across the length and breadth of the state. Especially, it's a known fact that RTC has over hundreds of acres of very valuable land within the GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) area too. BJP is of the view, that In the guise of a failed and a loss making enterprise, the RTC will be undersized and eventually merged with the state government," it said.
With inputs from agencies