Special Correspondent

State Government accused of attempting to privatise transport corporations

BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Staff and Workers’ Federation, which is affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress, has alleged that the State Government is attempting to privatise the State road transport corporations through “backdoor” methods, including privatisation of highly profitable routes.

Notification

The General Secretary of the federation, H.V. Ananthasubba Rao, and the Joint Secretary, S. Nagaraju, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the Government, through a notification issued sometime ago, opened up routes set apart for the KSRTC and the managements of the other road transport undertakings. The routes opened for private bus operations were in Kolar, Mysore, Bangalore, Kanakapura and Bellary apart from the routes operated by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation”.

The federation will organise a “Bangalore chalo” on Wednesday in which workers of the State-run road transport corporations will participate.

Challenged

The Government’s notification has been challenged in the High Court by the KSRTC and the KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation has also impleaded in the case. Bus operations in Karnataka were nationalised in 1973 when D. Devaraj Urs was Chief Minister and Mohammed Ali was Minister for Transport.

Affidavit

Mr. Ananthasubba Rao said: “The Government has started strangling the State-run undertakings formed under the RTC Act of 1950. On behalf of the Government, a desk officer has filed an affidavit, thus indicating the seriousness with which the Government is approaching the issue.

“The affidavit also mentions that if the Government’s notification is struck down, then it would cause hardships to a large number of passengers. It also refers to the requirement of a huge sum of money to commission nearly 5,000 buses in case private buses are withdrawn from service. The Government itself is making out a case for the private bus operators. The affidavit is a mirror of what is likely to culminate in privatisation.”

Privatisation

“Bangalore chalo” was aimed at conveying to the Government that it should refrain from thinking of privatising a vibrant public sector undertaking such as KSRTC.

‘Pittance’

Further, the managements of State transport undertakings had unilaterally hiked the wages by six per cent of the basic which “is a pittance”.

“We are the sole recognised trade union functioning in the KSRTC and have submitted a charter of demands to the managements. Without holding any consultation, the managements have hiked the wages which is highly improper,” he said.

Rejected

Mr. Ananthasubba Rao said that the federation had rejected the wage hike proposal on August 28 and had accordingly communicated to the managements.

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