Hyderabad: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) workers staged a protest near the Bus Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday demanding that the state government revive the loss-making corporation. They also raised concerns over job insecurity and payment of pending allowances.
“The state road transport corporation is in deep crisis and the government needs to step in to save and revive it. Since the lockdown, TSRTC has been running losses. The rise in diesel prices has become an additional burden. We are demanding that the government allot 1% of the state budget for TSRTC,” said V S Rao, General Secretary of TSRTC Staff and Workers Federation, associated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). He said nearly 40% of state buses need to be scrapped and replaced with new buses.
“TSRTC is incurring losses of about Rs 320 crore per annum due to the increase in diesel prices,” said Rao.
The workers, who have staged protests across bus depots in the state demanding revival of the corporation, also submitted representations to the management urging them to reconsider the new guidelines on the system of dealing with delinquencies committed by drivers and conductors in the course of their duties.
“The guidelines deal with types of punishments but do not mention anything about the job security of workers. The transport minister must consider the demands and concerns of workers’ unions and reissue the guidelines,” said K Raji Reddy, General Secretary of TSRTC Employees Union.
The unions are also demanding compensation for the added burden due to higher diesel (fuel) prices, allotment of special funds for expanding TSRTC, allowing union activities in TSRTC and payment of pending dues to workers, among others.
“The workers are not paid revised salaries as per the 2017 pay scale. Four dearness allowances have not been paid. Th workload has increased for garage workers,” said a protesting driver.
V S Rao said the workers had hoped that their living conditions would improve after the formation of a separate Telangan state, but their problems have only increased.
“The state government promised to allot Rs 1,000 crore for TSRTC in 2020-21 but did not keep its promise. With proper infusion of funds, the TSRTC can be revived and can become a model for other state road transport corporations,” said Rao.
Reportedly, TSRTC is recording a daily revenue of Rs 10 crore against the usual revenue of Rs 12 crore.
In 2019, over 49,000 TSRTC workers held a 55-day-long strike demanding regularisation of jobs amid the state government’s plans to privatise the unit.