RTC Strike Puts Commuters to Hardships
- Management threatens to invoke ESMA
- Chief Ministers review the situation
- Some 2,000 buses are still operating
- Alternate transportation plans
HYDERABAD: Public transport services in both the Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana came to a standstill on Wednesday, as 28,000 RTC buses remained confined to the depots following the indefinite strike launched by the employees from midnight.
The 1.2-lakh RTC crew struck work demanding a fitment of 43 percent on par with government employees. Though the RTC management had agreed to grant 27 percent fitment, the employees remained adamant derailing the efforts of the management to avert the strike.
With the RTC buses off the roads, as many as 1.54-crore commuters who depended on the public transport services for their daily travel were adversely affected.
Students appearing for various exams in far-off exam centers and office going staff, both government and private, numbering thousands faced untold sufferings to reach their destinations.
The harassed and beleaguered commuters were forced to seek other modes of transport like trains, autos and taxis for commuting. The auto-drivers, who blatantly refuse to operate meters fitted to the vehicles and charge exorbitantly these days, took advantage of RTC strike and fleeced the hapless commuters.
The attempts of the RTC authorities to ply skeletal services with the help of temporary drivers also backfired.
The RTC management struck a strong and stern warning to the striking crew.
It threatened to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) if the employees did not call off their strike. The management also warned the contract employees that if they failed to join duty by noon tomorrow, their services would be terminated.
Both the chief ministers,Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao, have been constantly apprising themselves of the situation and reviewing the impact of the strike with the officials. Both are likely to intervene to ensure that the strike is called off and thus prevent the commuters from further trouble.
The police authorities on their part have initiated all security measures like deploying sufficient forces before the depots and prevent any untoward incidents. Reports about stray incidents of striking employees preventing attempts to run the services by employees retired drivers and lorry drivers were reported in some places. The police also have imposed prohibitory orders in trouble-prone areas. (NSS)