Hyderabad: Telangana witnessed its first-ever state-wide bandh call on Saturday. The ongoing RTC strike entered 15th day. The JAC of RTC unions, several unions and political parties called for a state-wide bandh call in protest against the TRS government for neglecting the demands of RTC employees.
Amid tight police security at almost all the bus stations and depots, RTC employees and activists of political parties including BJP, Congress and Left parties prevented buses coming out of depots. The public transportation was almost paralysed in the state as the bandh impact seen across Telangana.
Barring few shops and petrol bunks, majority of educational institutes, commercial establishments were closed in all districts. Cadres of political parties took out rallies in district headquarters and major towns. The political party activists forced the shopkeepers to close their shops.
Bandh successful in Karimnagar: Sridhar Babu
Congress MLA Mr Sridhar Babu said the bandh was successful in the united Karimnagar district. "The response to the Telangana bandh call shows the growing unrest against the TRS government. The Chief Minister has been holding discussions with the officials for the past two days. But the CM didn't have time to hold talks with the RTC unions. Had the CM discussed with the RTC unions, the problem would have been resolved now. I question why Harish Rao and Etela Rajender are not responding to the ongoing strike and Telangana bandh. People wouldn't tolerate police ruling in Telangana," said Mr Sridhar Babu.
The police arrested several RTC employees for staging protest dharnas.
The JAC of RTC unions released a statement on Saturday. In the statement, they said: "The Telangana bandh was successful in all the districts as people supported the demand of merging TSRTC with the state government. We thank all sections of the society for extending whole-hearted support to the Telangana bandh. We condemn arrests of our leaders and employees in districts. We demand the TRS government to release all those arrested unconditionally. We'll announce the future course of action shortly."
Police escort for temporary staff
Police escorted temporary bus drivers and conductors to ensure the normal operations of bus services. However, it was partial impact as most of the passengers postponed their travel plans ahead of the Bandh call.
But, passengers who reached Secunderabad, Nampally and Kachiguda stations by trains faced problems. Passengers at railway stations were a worried lot as there were no city buses and autorickshaws available.
RTC employees, along with their families, staged protest dharnas in front of the bus depots.
Buses didn't come out of nine depots in Warangal district. The situation is no different in other areas.
Buses remained in depots in all the districts including Karimnagar, Siddipet, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rajanna Sircilla, Adilabad, Mancherial, etc.
Temporary drivers and conductors hesitated to work on Telangana bandh day. Majority of temporary drivers and conductors didn't report to duty voluntarily.
"Temporary drivers and conductors are running buses, mostly in twin cities and district headquarters. Passengers in rural areas of Telangana are suffering the most due to the ongoing RTC strike. The state government should resolve the problems of RTC employees and restore the normal transportation services across the state," said a passenger at Godavarkhani bus station.
"TRS Ministers Etela Rajender and Harish Rao should come forward to put an end to the RTC problem.
Passengers in districts are facing severe transportation problem. Farmers are unable to transport vegetables to the nearby towns and Hyderabad. Labourers, who work on daily wages, are losing their earnings due to the RTC strike for the past two weeks," said Rami Reddy, a farmer in Nizamabad district.
Jagga Reddy arrested
Police house arrested Sangareddy MLA Jagga Reddy, while he was speaking with the media at his residence about the ongoing RTC strike.
"The TRS government didn't take any measures to resolve the problem during the past two weeks. I'll stand by RTC employees until their problems are resolved," said Mr Jagga Reddy.
Sangareddy town CI Sanjaykumar arrested the MLA.
Ponnala Laxmaiah, former minister and senior Congress leader, expressed concerns over the way the TRS government is suppressing the RTC strike.
"The Chief Minister Mr K Chandrashekhar Rao is ruling Telangana like a dictator. We fought for Telangana statehood. Now, there's no voice of freedom in the state. Congress party would support RTC employees and fight for the justice," said Mr Ponnala.
All eyes on Huzurnagar
The Telangana bandh in Huzurnagar was total. Congress, BJP and Left parties focused on Huzurnagar, which is heading for the by-election on October 21. RTC employees and political party cadres staged dharnas at bus station and prevented buses coming out of it. Entire Telangana is looking to Huzurnagar, and the defeat of TRS candidate Mr Saidireddy will teach a lesson to Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, said a senior Congress leader here.
“We supported the RTC employees. But the majority of us want to vote for TRS this time. We voted for Uttamkumar Reddy for three times. He did his best. Now, we want to vote for Saidireddy. We hope the ruling TRS party will do something for the development of Huzurnagar,” said a shopkeeper in Huzurnagar.
Bandh total in Kodada
Left parties --CPI and CPM-- along with Congress, MRPS, AISF began protest dharnas at the local bus depot from morning onwards. Displaying banners and placards, employees and activists of political parties raised slogans against the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao.