No end to commuters’ woes as TSRTC strike enters day 2


Complaints of private operators charging exorbitant fares continue to pour in

On the second day of strike by its trade unions, Telangana State Road Transport Corporation logged running of an increased number of services through the six depots in former united Adilabad district even as stakeholders held their breath over the outcome of the high power committee meeting on the issue in Hyderabad on Sunday.

As many as 363 buses, including 179 of the RTC and 184 on hire, plied on different routes in the erstwhile district moving the percentage of running buses up to 76 from nearly 60 the previous day.

In the interior areas, however, fewer buses than usual plied putting commuters to some discomfort. The number of buses on the hilly routes like Utnoor-Asifabad was comparatively less. On routes where the number of services seemed adequate, like Adilabad-Utnoor, the occupancy seemed to have gone down drastically. It was obvious that people were travelling either on their two wheelers or in autorickshaws.

At some places, there were complaints from passengers of private operators charging exorbitant fares on short routes. For example, mini cab operators charged ₹40 for a one way journey from Adilabad town to Ichoda against the normal ₹20.

According to RTC-Adilabad Regional manager Vijay Bhaskar, the RTC and the Road Transport Authority managed to run other private passenger automobiles too. “Our main focus is on facilitating travel without much inconvenience,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Adilabad RTC Joint Action Committee convened a round table conference on the strike with Opposition parties like the Congress, BJP, PI, CPI (Marxist) and organisations like Tudum Debba etc. The effort was to enlist their support for the just demands of RTC workers and employees.

Contrasting figures

Contrary to the claims of the RTC management that 77% buses plied on Sunday, trade unions put the number much lower, stating that just 20 buses moved out of each depot. The unions supporting the strike said officials were giving false reports in favour of the government and management.

RTC Regional Manager P. Soloman told The Hindu that out of 644 buses in all six depots in the erstwhile undivided district, 423 were operated, registering 77% operations. He said the management could alleviate passenger woes by running more buses.

Staff and Workers Federation regional secretary B. Sanjeev alleged that with an intention to divert public attention, authorities were resorting to false claims. “We are not afraid of the threats of government and are honestly continuing the strike for solution to our demands. The management is exploiting workers by using their services for 14 to 16 hours every day. Unable to bear the pressure, about 200 workers either died or committed suicides after the formation of Telangana State,” he said.

Sanjeev said that though there were over 9,000 vacancies of conductors, drivers and other staff, but the government is silent over recruitment increasing the work pressure on them.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions district general secretary Noorjahan, meanwhile, said representatives of all trade unions would take out a rally and burn the effigy of Chief Minister in the town on Monday. They would also hold a round table on the ongoing RTC strike, she said.

Inconvenience caused

A majority of buses stayed off roads across the State on day 2 of the TSRTC strike. Passengers faced severe inconvenience given that they have to reach their villages or home town for Dasara festivities.

The strike, called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of different employees’ unions of TSRTC, continued as the State government failed to concede their long-pending demands that include merger of the TSRTC with the State government, pay revision, job security, payment of dues and filling up of vacancies.

According to officials, around 942 buses operate from the erstwhile Warangal district and carry over 10 lakh passengers every day. Meanwhile, the State government has made alternative arrangements for passengers by engaging the services of temporary drivers and conductors to operate buses during the strike period.

In Warangal district, TSRTC authorities have hired private buses to run the services.

On the second day of the strike, 318 private drivers and 546 private conductors reported for duty and operated services for long distances. But the fares have not remained the same. Passengers alleged that the private bus operators were collecting double the charges.

“We are helpless in a way, but have made alternative arrangements to ensure that people reach their villages for Dasara festival,” said TSRTC Warangal Regional Manager A. Sridhar

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:47:21 PM |

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