Says unionism killing transport corporation, which is on the verge of closure; Strike is illegal and line of action with bad motto; merging with state government impossible; hiring 1,000 buses very soon
Hyderabad: No one can save TSRTC as it’s on the verge of closure, said Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao while making it clear that demand for merging with state government highly impossible.
“After hiking salary by 67 per cent in just five years, how can RTC unions demand a merger with state government?” questions the chief minister. The union-driven strike is illegal when ESMA is in force. Employees are innocent, and they should come out of the bear hug of unions. If employees are innocent, why can’t they apply and report to duty? After Telangana state formation, the government gave 44 per cent hike in salaries and later 14 per cent IR. Merging with the state government is not possible. We have 57 corporations. If RTC is combined, other corporations start similar demand,” remarked KCR.
The state government set up a committee led by the Chief Secretary to discuss the demands of RTC staff. However, the employees, under the bad influence of unions resorted to strike, which happened to be illegal,” explained the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister further said that during his tenure of three years as Transport Minister in the united AP, he brought APSRTC into a profit of Rs 14 crore in 1997-98 from Rs 13.80 crore losses.
Lambasting BJP and Congress over the RTC strike, the Chief Minister questioned them why their parties are not implementing it in their states. “Congress Chief Minister Digvijay Singh scrapped RTC in MP, only 200 RTC buses in West Bengal and few hundred buses in Bihar. There is no RTC in Jharkhand. RTC is becoming a namesake in several states,” added KCR.
Motor Vehicle Amendment Act-2019
He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government brought Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019. The new act empowered states to privatise routes. He added they are moving ahead according to the law. “According to section 67 of the amended act, the state government has the power to privatise routes. No one can stop us. High Court can advise, but can’t decide on RTC strike, because the state government has to decide on RTC demands. At most, it can refer to a tribunal. When ESMA is in place, the strike became illegal. No court supports illegal strikes,” observed the CM.
Expressing concerns over the Rs 3 cr-loss every day due to the ongoing strike, KCR elaborated the financial situation at TSRTC. He said, “TSRTC runs 5,000 buses, and 2,100 are on hire. The accumulated losses of TSRTC are Rs 5,000 crore and incurring Rs 1,200 crore annually. That indicates Rs 100 cr-loss every month. Telangana RTC earns Rs 0.75 paise per bus per kilometre as against Rs 13 loss per bus per km on own buses. Why is it happening? Now, TSRTC employees are demanding for the removal of hired buses. Does it make any sense?”
Explaining about the support extended by the TRS government, KCR said that the state government gave Rs 4,250 crore to TSRTC as against just Rs 712 cr by the united AP to APSRTC.
“The Telangana government gave Rs 900 cr every year to TSRTC. We have already released Rs 425 crore out of the budgeted Rs 550 cr for the current financial year, and TSRTC management doesn’t have money for September salary. The current situation is that the corporation has no money and no revenue for the RTC. If loan instalments are not paid on time, it’ll be NPA. Telangana RTC management is not in a position to contribute to PF and salaries. Then no question arises that state government is using their funds. That’s another foolish argument,” clarifies the CM.
TSRTC without unions can be profitable
KCR further opined that without unions, TSRTC could become profitable. “Yes, it’s possible. We saved Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL). Singareni employees are enjoying a bonus every year. Similarly, TSRTC employees can also get a bonus of Rs 1 lakh in just two years provided they come out of unionism.
Employees are sincere and committed, and management is excellent. TSRTC gets awards every year. The only adverse factor is unionism. Not just RTC employees, but everyone fought for Telangana statehood,” he said.
The Chief Minister gave examples of Mumbai and Kolkata on how trade unions killed development. Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and Kolkata, the industrial capital of India, suffered a lot due to unionism. The same thing is happening to Telangana RTC, he said.
Hiring 1,000 buses in 5 days
“We have received a good response for the notification for hiring 1,000 buses. Out of the 2,550 applications received, we have already approved 2,075 applications. We don’t need Cabinet meeting or approval for hiring buses. The Chief Minister and transport minister are enough to sign for hiring 1,000 buses. I’ll show the people how effectively we can run private buses at low charges than the present RTC fare. The High Court’s next hearing is scheduled on October 28 and 29,” KCR said.
On APSRTC merger
Responding to a question on APSRTC merger with the AP government, the CM said that not everything was done. “The AP government set up a committee, and it may submit a report within three months. After the submission of the report, we will know what’ll happen,” observes KCR.
The TRS government is keen on protecting Gulf workers. Majority of workers in Gulf countries are from Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Hyderabad. The state government requires many skilled and unskilled workers for ongoing infrastructure projects.
“We need more workforces to support ongoing infrastructure projects in Telangana. Thousands of workers from Telangana are suffering in Gulf countries. We sent our secretaries to study what the Kerala government is doing for the welfare of Gulf workers. Along with our MLAs from Karimnagar, Hyderabad and Nizamabad, I will visit Gulf countries and discuss with their governments. Several illiterate workers are in Gulf nations for low salaries, and some are in jail. We’ll protect them and bring them to accommodate in our projects for a better life,” assured the CM.
New Revenue Act
After successfully bringing new Panchayati Raj Act and Municipal Act, the govt wants to bring a new Revenue Act. The modifications in the Revenue Act will aim at cleansing revenue records. “We’re not against individuals and employees. We’re against the wrong system. If VRO post is scrapped, the employee will be accommodated in some other department,” he said.
The CM voiced concerns over slowing down of the state economy while cautioning that we need to be careful in financial decisions. “Telangana state economy grew 21 per cent annually in the first five years, according to the CAG report. Now, the economic growth rate fell to just 2.3 per cent, and this is an alarming sign for the state. We made Rs 1.84 lakh crore vote for account budget but later trimmed it to Rs 1.36 lakh crore due to the ongoing recession.