Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday announced the privatisation of 50% of the state's bus services and set a three-day deadline for protesting employees to join back to their duties.
Telangana CM’s announcement of privatizing as many as 5,100 private buses came after a marathon cabinet meeting. The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) used to run 10,400 buses, out of which over 2,000 buses were already private and another 2,000 were in a dilapidated state, he said. He also said that the privatization will help to cut losses for the government.
The three-day ultimatum to the striking workers came after the Chief Minister earlier warning of employees involved in the "illegal strike" could soon be considered "self-dismissed".
Privatisation of the 5,100 buses is a policy decision and cannot be reversed, said K. Chandrasekhara Rao. But this was one of the major fears raised by the striking trade unions. He also pointed out that the central government's recent amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act allows states to privatise in order to ensure sustainability.
The state government counsel even told the Telangana High Court that striking employees can't be paid for the month of September because the corporation cannot dispense Rs. 239 crore in salaries when it has less than Rs. 10 crore in its coffers. The strike, it claims, has caused the TSRTC a revenue loss of up to Rs. 175 crore.