Even as talks between representatives of the State Government and management on one hand and employees unions on the other hand yield nothing concrete, an already financially-beleaguered A.P. State Road Transport Corporation has reported losses due to non-operation of buses, of a whopping Rs.555 crore as of Wednesday evening.
While the strike in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions actually began on July 31, APSRTC employees officially joined the Samaikhyandhra (integrated State) agitation spearheaded by the A.P. Non-Gazetted Officers’ Association on August 12. Even so, in excess of 95 per cent of approximately 12,000 buses of the total fleet strength of about 22,000 buses were off the roads in the said regions since July 31. About 65,000 employees are on strike.
APSRTC’s Executive Director-Operations, G.V. Ramana Rao said that every day, senior officials were trying to reason out with striking employees that the strike did not help anyone, while causing untold hardship to the travelling public and employees alike. Employees in the two regions did not get their salary for August, while the corporation itself now faced a loss of revenue to the tune of Rs.555 crore, over and above the losses of over Rs.1,300 crore, accumulated over the years. On Tuesday, Transport Minister Botcha Satyanarayana and senior officials held talks with striking employees, trying to convince them to call off their strike and resume duties. But in the context of the APNGOs association resolving to intensify the agitation at its meeting September 16, there appears to be no immediate hope of the employees giving up the strike, said another senior officials.
The over 45 day-old strike now is a record of sorts, of the longest duration on non-operation in the two regions, since the birth of the corporation under its present name in 1958. APSRTC’s origins though, date back to June, 1932 when it was established as the Nizam State Rail & Road Transport Department, a wing of the Nizam State Railway in the erstwhile Hyderabad State, with a fleet of 27 buses and 166 employees.
In its journey spanning eight decades’, the APSRTC has grown to a fleet strength of over 22,000 buses operated out of 212 depots.