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The strike by 48000 workers and employees of  Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) has completed 37 days by now. It is a stalemate now, caused chiefly by the adamant attitude of State Government led by TRS headed by Chief Minister KCR.

The High Court had several sittings till now, but could not end the stalemate, and is going to hear pleas on privatization on November 11. The stalemate could not be ended despite several requests and advisories by the High Court. The Govt indicated that it would rather go in Appeal to Supreme Court if necessary.

The Govt declared its resolve to go in for total privatization  if the strike did not end by November 5, or 50 percent privatization otherwise, as a matter of state policy, which it claimed was guided by the Modi-led Centre’s Amendments to MV Act. The Court has no jurisdiction in matters of policy, it asserted.

The CM as also RTC administration declared the strike is illegal, and issued ultimatums, the latest that all workers would be losing their jobs if they do not unconditionally resume duties by the midnight of November 5.  Hardly one percent workers joined duty by that time, i.e., after one month of the strike, as admitted by RTC.

The  Govt. blamed BJP-MPs backing the strike as double-talk, and drama.

The Govt.  has not released the salary for even September, for work done, against all cannons of law and justice.

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The following news reports give an update about the strike.

Privatisation of RTC routes: HC restrains Telangana government from going ahead, summons the cabinet decision.

HYDERABAD: The Telangana high court on November  8 Friday restrained the state government from going ahead with its decision to privatise 5,100 RTC routes in the state and directed it to produce a copy of the cabinet decision taken in this regard by Monday.

The bench of chief justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and justice A Abhishek Reddy gave this interim direction while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Professor PL Visweswara Rao of Telangana Jana Samithi challenging the decision of the state to privatise public routes in the backdrop of the ongoing RTC strike.

Better resolve the issue with the striking workers instead of going for privatisation, he said in his plea.
To a question whether the petitioner has a copy of the cabinet decision, his counsel Chikkudu Prabhakar told the bench that they do not secure a copy of it because the state did not put it in public domain. The bench summoned the cabinet decision and posted the case to Nov 11.

Do not precipitate matters by taking any further steps in the matter, the bench told the state before adjourning the case. (Times of India TNN | Updated: Nov 8, 2019)

Reconsider stand on RTC strike: HC to govt.

More learned and mightier persons should be more polite, says CJ

Observing that a king should be like a father figure to people, the Telangana High Court on Thursday appealed to the State government to reconsider its stand on the ongoing strike of Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees.

After hearing contentions of Advocate General B.S. Prasad and Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi, both of whom opined that striking RTC workers were “not budging a bit”, the HC remarked that the State, being mightier, should take the initiative to hold talks. “More learned and more mightier persons should be more polite and more sparing,” Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauahn said.

The CJ, along with Justice A. Abhishek Reddy, was hearing a batch of PILs and writ petitions on the RTC strike. Four days ago, the bench had directed the Chief Secretary, TSRTC MD in-charge Sunil Sharma, Principal Finance Secretary K. Ramakrishna Rao and GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar to appear before it, observing that affidavits filed by them on State’s financial assistance to TSRTC were self-contradictory.

Complying with the HC directions, all the officials turned up at First Court hall. When the AG said the State had already appealed to the agitating workers to resume duties, the CJ said that was not an appeal. Giving an option of either do this or that cannot be an appeal, the bench remarked. “Was it a promise or threat,” the bench asked referring to the appeal.

The CJ said that both government and the striking employees should negotiate and ensure the people were not put to difficulties. “But the government is not willing to walk the extra mile” to resolve the issue, the CJ said. The bench expressed displeasure over the government’s response over its previous request to release Rs. 49 crore to concede four of the 45 demands of the agitating employees.

Releasing that money would be the first step towards building confidence among the workers but the government said it did not have money, the bench noted. “The government’s posturing on that request was so stark that even the one per cent of hope of resolving the issue evaporated,” the CJ said. Noting that “Telangana government had taken up some fantastic projects, for example like financial support to farmers,” the bench wondered why it was not showing similar generosity on the RTC strike issue.

“When the government had borrowed thousands of crores for an irrigation project, why not an extra straw on your back? One small straw would not make the State bankrupt,” the CJ remarked.

Responding to the CJ’s observations, the CS said he would convey the message to the government. The hearing was posted for Monday.

The CJ said that both government and the striking employees should negotiate and ensure the people were not put to difficulties. “But the government is not willing to walk the extra mile” to resolve the issue, the CJ said. The bench expressed displeasure over the government’s response over its previous request to release ₹49 crore to concede four of the 45 demands of the agitating employees.

Releasing that money would be the first step towards building confidence among the workers but the government said it did not have money, the bench noted. “The government’s posturing on that request was so stark that even the one per cent of hope of resolving the issue evaporated,” the CJ said. Noting that “Telangana government had taken up some fantastic projects, for example like financial support to farmers,” the bench wondered why it was not showing similar generosity on the RTC strike issue.

“When the government had borrowed thousands of crores for an irrigation project, why not an extra straw on your back? One small straw would not make the State bankrupt,” the CJ remarked.

Responding to the CJ’s observations, the CS said he would convey the message to the government. The hearing was posted for Monday. (The Hindu, Hyderabad , November 07, 2019)

Officers giving misleading information: High Court

(The Hindu Special Correspondent ,HYDERABAD, November 07, 2019 )

Finance Secretary, RTC MD making tailor-made statements to suit government’s version, says court

Taking a serious note of the conflicting and contradicting facts and figures mentioned in the affidavits filed by top officials, the Telangana High Court on Thursday said the officials were taking it (the court) for a ride by presenting misleading information. During the arguments in a batch of petitions relating to the strike by TSRTC employees, the High Court said the officials were making tailor-made statements to suit the State government’s stand that it had paid over and above what was due to the TSRTC.

Principal Finance Secretary (PFS) K. Ramakrishna Rao, the TSRTC MD in-charge Sunil Sharma and GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar filed affidavits and additional counter-affidavits on the monies the State had released to the TSRTC.

Pointing out the inconsistencies over facts, contradictory figures and conflicting content in the affidavits filed by them, Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan said the three top officials were “singing different ragas (tunes)”. They were doing this just to fall in line with government’s stand that more funds were given to TSRTC than due.

‘Admire loyalty’

“We are amazed at your loyalty but won’t admire disloyalty to the HC,” the CJ remarked. Expressing dissatisfaction over the contradictory content in the affidavits, the CJ said that he had worked in three HCs, but this was the first instance of experiencing officers lying to the HC. “I don’t believe my PFS. Not sure where truth lies…but not definitely in four walls of this court,” the CJ said. Referring to a presentation made by the TSRTC MD in-charge to the Transport Minister (in which it was stated that GHMC owed money to the corporation), the CJ asked him why in the fresh affidavit he had stated that GHMC did not owe money to the corporation. “You misled your own Minister. Having said once that the GHMC owed money to the corporation, can you make somersault on the point?” the CJ questioned.

The GHMC Commissioner’s contention that it was not committed to reimburse money to TSRTC as per Section 112 (30) of the GHMC Act was meaningless, the bench noted. If it was not committed to pay, why did it release over ₹300 crore to the corporation, the bench asked.

“If GHMC is so generous, why is not every department going to it and asking for financial assistance?” the bench observed. The PFS in the first affidavit said the government released loans to the corporation. In the second affidavit, he mentioned they were grants. The PFS says loans are not loans but grants. Does not the finance department know what are loans?”, the bench remarked. As the court pointed out lacunae in the affidavits, Mr. Ramakrishna Rao expressed his apologies thrice.

Officers cautioned

The CJ cautioned the officers that furnishing misleading information under oath amounts to perjury. “I have respect for IAS officers and the government. For perjury, the court can initiate contempt proceedings,” he said.

The CJ said the court’s concern was the common man’s plight due to the RTC strike and attempting to resolve it, hoping everyone would come clean.

Pay Rs 200 crore to staff’s co-operative society: Telangana high court to RTC

(Times of India Sagar Kumar Mutha | TNN | Updated: Nov 7, 2019)

HYDERABAD: In a major relief for striking TSRTC employees, the Telangana high court on Wednesday directed the state-owned Corporation to deposit Rs 200 crore in the account of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation Employees Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society Limited within six weeks.
Justice A Rajasheker Reddy of the high court on Wednesday gave the interim direction while hearing a plea filed by the Society’s secretary B Mahesh and managing committee member B Y Reddy, who stated that the TSRTC management had used Rs 411 crore of the Society and did not repay it till date.
“RTC now owes the Society over Rs 530 crore,” Society’s counsel A K Jayaprakash Rao informed the court.

“We collect membership fee from 50,000 members in our society. We also give loans to the employees to enable them to meet their expenditure on important occasions in their lives. RTC deducts this money from salaries of employees every month in small quanta and transfer the deducted amount to the account of the Society,” he explained.
‘Corp stopped transferring deductions’
RTC has been deducting amounts from salaries of employees. But, unfortunately, the Corporation has stopped transferring deductions for the past few years, Jayaprakash Rao said. “Let them pay it with interest now,” he added.
The judge, in one of his earlier hearings, had made it clear that it was not fair on the part of the RTC management to withhold money even after deducting the same from the salaries of the workers. In May, the judge had put the RTC management on notice on the same issue.
On Wednesday, when the matter came up for hearing again, Jayaprakash Rao brought to the notice of the court that the RTC management had not repaid dues to the Society. The judge directed RTC managing director and chief financial officer to deposit Rs 200 crore in the Society’s account within six weeks.

TSRTC is not recognised by us, Centre tells HC

Sagar Kumar Mutha | TNN | Updated: Nov 8, 2019

HYDERABAD: In a new twist in the ongoing stalemate between the state government and striking RTC unions, the Centre on Thursday said it does not acknowledge the existence of TSRTC because it has not recognised bifurcation of APSRTC into two separate entities. Springing another surprise, the central government informed the Telangana high court that it has not accorded any approval for dividing the erstwhile APSRTC.

Conveying this to a bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, assistant solicitor general (ASG) Namavarapu Rajeswara Rao said the Centre held a shareholding in APSRTC before united Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated. “We have 33% stake in APSRTC. It is still with APSRTC and not with TSRTC. In fact, we were not informed about the bifurcation of the composite APSRTC,” he said.

The bench, which was hearing a batch of petitions on the RTC strike, sought to know Centre’s stand after the issue of its 33% stake in RTC had cropped up.

The ASG said that no scheme for formal division of APSRTC had been approved as required under section 47-A of the Road Transport Corporation Act, 1950. “The question of government of India’s equity in TSRTC does not arise because the Centre has not accorded approval or legal sanctity for the emergence of TSRTC. The equity of the central government cannot be transferred automatically to the newly-constituted TSRTC,” he argued.

At this, the bench sought to know from Telangana advocate general (AG) BS Prasad as to why they did not obtain the requisite approval from the Centre before setting up their own RTC from APSRTC. The AG replied that TSRTC was set up under section 3 of the RTC Act.

HC: Why didn’t T, AP urge Centre to expedite division ?

“APSRTC has not yet been fully bifurcated. To meet the transport needs of Telangana, we established TSRTC and started operating it from April 2016,” Prasad contended. The tussle over assets and liabilities of Road Transport Corporation to be shared by road transport corporations of both states is pending with the Centre, he said. “Provisions of sections 68 and 71 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act cover this subject and the matter is pending with the Centre,” he said.

The bench sought to know from the state counsel as to why both the neighbouring states did not urge the Centre to execute the division expeditiously. “Section 47-A makes it mandatory for you (Telangana) to obtain the Centre’s approval before reconstituting your RTC,” the bench said.
The AG sought time till Monday to respond on the issue.

Earlier, the bench urged the state government to reconsider its tough posture to end the stalemate. “We appreciate the schemes taken up by government for the welfare of its people. Be it in irrigation, power or electricity sectors, the state’s efforts are phenomenal. We have abundant faith in the state government and that is the reason why we have hope that the government will reconsider its tough stand on the RTC issue. We also do not approve of the tough stand taken by the workers,” the chief justice said.

“Since the state is powerful, we request the state to make the first move. The more powers you have, the more sparingly you should use them,” the CJ said and reminded chief secretary SK Joshi, RTC in-charge MD Sunil Sharma, finance Secretary K Ramakrishna Rao and GHMC commissioner Lokesh Kumar, who were present in the court, that their conflicting affidavits are good enough for perjury and contempt.

“But, we will not use them. We want the problem to be solved,” the CJ said. “Your (government) initiative will help three crore people of Telangana who are facing severe hardships on account of the ongoing RTC strike,” the bench added before posting the case to November 11.

RTC strike: BJP seeks KCR’s resignation

(The Hindu Special Correspondent , HYDERABAD, November 07, 2019 )

The Bharatiya Janata Party has sought the resignation of Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao by taking moral responsibility for the ongoing TSRTC strike and because 50,000 employees have not heeded his call to return to work despite threats and coercion, indicating that people have lost confidence in him.

“KCR is solely responsible for current crisis in Telangana where administration and the daily lives of people has come to a standstill due to the RTC stir. Things would not have to come to such a pass if he would have lived up to his promises made during the separate state agitation or had held talks without resorting to intimidation and falsehoods,” said president K. Laxman on Wednesday.

Talking to press persons at the State office and flanked by fellow leaders including G. Sukhender Reddy, MP D. Aravind, spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao and others, Mr. Laxman said all sections of the society like employees, students and others have been hit hard due to lack of proper public commute and there does not appear to be any respite in sight with the government adamant about its posture. The government does not seem to be interested in resolving the issue with its Ministers and ruling party MLAs making caustic remarks on the agitating employees who had disregarded financial constraints to continue the stir till their main demands are met, he charged.

“The Chief Minister put three deadlines, but only 300 employees (out of 48000)  joined which indicates the workers have been victorious. The strike is more severe than what was witnessed during agitation for separate State. We are with the employees and will support any initiative if they are going to intensify the agitation because the High Court’s caustic remarks too has not moved this government to call for talks,” explained the BJP leader.

The party chief stated that the new MV Act was meant to curb high rate of road accidents in the country and promote safe driving but the Telangana Chief Minister has been twisting facts to claim that the Centre had permitted privatisation of RTCs under it. “In any case, it was announced in the Legislative Assembly that Telangana would not implement the new Act so the CM cannot use it as a fig leaf,” he said.

Without dividing assets and liabilities with Andhra Pradesh and not having a full-fledged board, the government has no right to take major decisions, Mr. Laxman maintained.

Condemn the repressive measures of the TRS Government against RTC workers and other protestors

The UCCRI(ML) condemns the arrests, lathi-charges and use of teargas on RTC workers and others who were protesting against the TRS Government. It is another reflection of the anti-worker, autocratic attitude of the TRS Government led by KCR.

The workers have the right of protest in the face of the adamant attitude of the TRS Government in refusing to discuss the workers’ demands and arrive at a negotiated settlement. It is the result of this autocratic, anti-worker attitude of the TRS Government that the strike continues even after 37 days. The Government’s refusal of permission for the protest and the arrests and the other repressive measures to prevent the same are another reflection of the anti-worker, autocratic nature of the KCR Government.

The opposition parties in the State have been supporting the strike of the RTC workers. It should be noted that most of these parties have pursued and are pursuing similar anti-worker policies whenever and wherever they were in power in various States including our State and at the Centre. Yet, they are supporting the strike with a view to settle their scores with the TRS Government led by KCR.

This is particularly so in the case of the BJP which is presently in power at the Centre and a large number of States and which is running a parallel Government in the State using its power at the Centre. Similar is the case of the Congress which was in power at the Centre, various States and united Andhra Pradesh for decades and is now vying with the TRS for power in Telangana State. The workers should be aware of this reality while conducting their struggle against the TRS Government.

The workers should refuse to become pawns in the endless squabble for power between the ruling party which is trying to suppress the strike and the Opposition which is trying to fish in the troubled waters of the strike. They should not forget that the TRS led by KCR had used them in the past in a similar way only to suppress them after coming to power.

The RTC workers must primarily depend on their organized strength to conduct the strike while striving for a negotiated settlement.

Vinod

Secretary, UCCRI(ML)

Unity Centre of Communist  Revolutionaries of India


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