More than two weeks after the employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) called for an indefinite strike against the state government, a six-member panel has been formed by the KCR government to review their demands.
The announcement for the formation of panel came on Tuesday after the protesting employees voluntarily withdrew one of their key demands of merger of the TSRTC with the state government, according to the Chief Minister's Office.
"The trade union leaders initially announced that they would come for talks only if the state government announced merger of the RTC with the government. They said merger was their first priority. But during the hearing on the strike in High Court, they said they would not insist on the merger," the Chief Minister's office said.
"This is mentioned by the Honourable Chief Justice in his orders. With this, it is tantamount that the demand for the merger of RTC with the government had been forsaken," it added.
Transport Commissioner Sunil Sharma, who is also the acting RTC Managing Director, has constituted the panel with six members. Executive director T Venkateswara Rao is the chairman and A Purushottam, C Vinod Kumar, E Yadagiri, V Venkateswarlu, Financial Advisor N Ramesh are among the members. The panel, however, would have no representatives from the union.
The committee is expected to submit its report to the RTC Managing Director on 21 of 45 demands as directed by high court, the statement said.
Based on the recommendations given by the panel, the government will submit a report to the high court.
Last week, the high court had asked the state government to hold talks with protesting employees and resolve the dispute to end the strike that has been causing massive public inconvenience since the protest was called on October 5. On Saturday, a statewide shutdown had disrupted transport services across Hyderabad and 32 other districts.
"Examine the demands in tune with the court orders," Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has reportedly instructed the officials.
As locals face inconvenience across the state, KCR reportedly inquired about alternate arrangements made in the backdrop of the RTC strike and instructed officials to take 1,000 buses on rent.
The Chief Minister also said it was unethical on the part of BJP, Congress to extend support to the "unlawful strike". He said the BJP and Congress were not implementing the demands put forth by the RTC workers in state's ruled by them.
"The arguments put forth by the BJP and Congress are surprising. Narendra Modi government has passed an Act giving full powers to the states to privatize the Road Transport Corporation and bus routes. The BJP leaders here are talking against it. In Madhya Pradesh, when Congress's Digvijay Singh was the Chief Minister, they had closed down the RTC. But these parties have taken a different and strange stand here," KCR said.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the striking employees met Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and demanded action against the Chief Minister for not initiating talks despite high court directions. They also sought against the RTC management for calling tenders for recruiting temporary drivers amid the protest.
A plea was also filed in court against the move to rent 1,035 private buses. The unions said the government cannot justify the move after the government lawyer said it was intended to ease trouble for commuters.