Nobody can save RTC from shutting down, says KCR

Hyderabad: With employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) continuing their indefinite strike on 20th day on Thursday, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao said nobody can save the public transport utility from shutting down.

“The strike will end with RTC itself. Yes, it is going to happen,” he told a news conference to a query as to whether he sees an end to the strike.

“They are closing down the RTC. Nobody can save it. It is a gone case,” said Rao pointing out that the transport entity has gone bankrupt.

KCR, as Rao was popularly known, was talking to media after his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won Huzurnagar Assembly bypoll with a huge majority.

The Chief Minister, who appears to have further hardened his stand on the strike, made it clear that the RTC will not exist in its present form.

“The result of the strike is that old RTC will not be there. 1,000 per cent it will not be there,” he said.

KCR said a decision on permitting 7,000 private buses would be taken in a few days. “I can grant permits to more than 7,000 private buses to ply on the roads of Telangana, providing quality and comfortable transport to the people at lesser fares,” he said.

The Chief Minister blamed the leaders of RTC trade unions for the current situation and slammed the opposition parties for instigating them. He said trade union leaders called for strike to get votes in their union elections but they were playing with the lives of innocent employees and their families.

Over 48,000 employees of RTC are on strike since October 5 to press for their demands including the demand for the RTC’s merger with the government.

KCR termed the demand for merger as irrational and said if TSRTC was merged with the government, 57 other corporations will make similar demands.

He said RTC had no money to pay salaries to employees for September as the employees themselves cut the branch they were sitting on by going on strike. He said with economic slowdown, the government too had no money to bail out the RTC.

He claimed that the strike during festival season resulted in loss of Rs 125 crore to Rs 150 crore to RTC, which has accumulated losses of Rs 1,200 crore and outstanding loans of Rs 5,000 crore.