Tremors of the rather prolonged strike by RTC trade unions in Seemandhra are now being felt in Telangana. Employees of the passenger transport giant in the region predict the agitation will herald its privatisation, but fear the dreaded step could be initiated before Telangana is formed.
“The losses that RTC will incur owing to protests by our counterparts in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema will also cause an impact in Telangana.
Though our region is comparatively better placed in terms of loss and profit, the effect will be telling on our units too,” the regional secretary of National Mazdoor Union (NMU), Lokula Ramesh, points out as he talks of the fear in question.
The 10 Telangana districts have a share of 42 per cent and 45 per cent of the total of 1.19 lakh employees and the total of 22,500 buses that the Corporation runs in the State. Each bus in Telangana incurs a loss of Rs. 50 per day while a vehicle in Seemandhra leaves a loss of about Rs. 235 every day, according to statistics quoted by the trade unions here.
“Our occupancy ratio (OR) in peak season is nearly 80 per cent and is nearly 75 per cent in slack season while that in Seemandhra region is never above 70 per cent. The OR is a major factor in calculating loss or profit,” Mr. Ramesh adds as he draws a comparison to show how RTC in Telangana fares better.
Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema also record 64 per cent of illicit operations by private transporters whereas that percentage in Telangana is 36 per cent. This is another major factor that causes an impact on the finances of the RTC. “The strike in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema is instigated by private bus operators in those regions. It is they who stand to benefit if the RTC goes bankrupt,” he says by way of alerting the trade unions in Seemandhra. The RTC trade unions in this region have started charting a course of action to avoid being burdened by losses amassed due to the strike in Seemandhra. They pin their hopes on Telangana being formed at an early stage so that they can pressurise the government to divide the losses as on the date of the current agitation in Andhra and Rayalaseema.