Striking TSRTC employees call for Telangana shutdown

HYDERABAD: Intensifying their indefinite strike, the employees of state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have called for a Telangana shutdown on October 19.

As the strike by nearly 50,000 employees entered its eighth day on Saturday, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various employee unions announced their action plan to intensify the protest.

The JAC unveiled a week-long protest programme even as the state government refused to budge from its stand.

The striking employees will organise ‘vanta varpu’ or cooking on roads across the state on October 13. The JAC has called for sit-in and protest meetings in front of bus depots on October 14. The next day it will organise road blockades and form human chains.

Student organisations will take out rallies in support of the JAC on October 16. The striking employees will take part in ‘Dhoom dhaam’ (cultural programmes) on October 17 while two-wheeler rallies will be organised the next day.

‘Vanta varpu’ and ‘Dhoom dhaam’ were the unique protests organised during the movement for statehood for Telangana. RTC employees claim to have played a key role in achieving Telangana’s statehood.

All opposition parties, which are backing the striking employees, are expected to extend support to the October 19 shutdown.

The employees have been on strike since October 5 to press for their demands, including merger of TSRTC with the government.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has termed the strike illegal and rejected all the demands. It also refused to hold talks with the employees.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has already declared that only 1,200 employees remained in TSRTC as all others failed to join duty before the expiry of the deadline.

Majority of 10,000 TSRTC buses remained off the roads in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana, causing severe inconvenience to commuters. TSRTC management claims to be operating over 5,000 buses with the help of temporary drivers and other staff.