Telangana employees unions call it KCR’s divide-and-rule policy to handle the slipping situation of RTC strike against government. Officers-bearers of the Telangana Non-Gazetted Officers (NGOs) Associ-ation were surprised to get an invitation from the Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday, after trying for a long time to get to meet him.

Though the Association claimed that they merely congratulated Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for the success of the 30 days action plan, the meeting gains significance in the wake of the ongoing strike of the TSRTC workers.

The RTC Trade Unions Joint Action Committee and leaders of various opposition parties had announced on Wednes-day that the ongoing RTC strike will become another Sakala Janula Samme (the general strike of all employees which had created tremors during the separate Telangana movement) in the coming days, and RTC staff will seek the support of the NGOs, revenue employees and others.

Against this background, the NGO leaders’ meeting with the CM which they had been trying to arrange for the past several months, triggered speculation among the trade unions and employees unions of the government.

Several trade union leaders said in private that the Chief Minister intends to isolate the RTC JAC and so invited the NGO leaders for the meeting.

As soon as news spread of the meeting, it was expected that Mr Rao would make an announ-cement with regard to the Dearness Allowance of state government em-ployees since the annou-ncement of the DA to central government emp-loyees had been made.

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The state government also expected some anno-uncement on interim relief and setting up of the Pay Revision Commission. TNGO general secretary V Mamata said the Chief Minister also congratulated them and assured them he would resolve their pending demands and announce the emoluments after the Huzurnagar by-election as the model code was in force.

The stern warning from Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao against dealing with the striking workers of the TSRTC and recent raids by the Anti- Corr-uption Bureau on empl-oyees of the revenue department appears to be worrying other unions of state government employees into rethinking their support for their fellow workers.

The indefinite strike of RTC staff entered its seventh day on Thurs-day and the RTC Joint Action Committee leaders have announced that they will not call off the strike and will intensify the stir even without the support of other unions, as they have been receiving massive support from the people after the CM announced that 48,140 employees had been dismissed.

Other unions in the state that had extended support to the RTC uni-on before the CM’s tou-gh stand to sack workers, have backed off.

A senior office bearer of the Telangana NGOs Association admitted that employees fear losing their jobs if they join hands with the RTC staff.

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He said the recent raids and arrests by the ACB of employees of various departments including the JAC president Madhusudhan Reddy and revenue officials, has resulted in leaders of the respective JACs not being too keen on supporting the RTC employees.

The spirit that sustained the agitation for a separate Telangana is certainly missing. A JAC leader who played a key role in the Telangana movement said, “If we fight for the RTC and our jobs are also gone, who would take the responsibility? The families of RTC employees are already suffering. The current situation in the state is also not suitable to support the RTC union.”

Meanwhile,Telangana Rashtra Samithi has urged on the striking TSRTC unions to call off their strike and sit for talks with the government to discuss all issues except the demand to merge TSRTC with the government.

In a statement, TRS secretary general K Keshav Rao appealed to all RTC employees to call off their strike before things get out of their hands, and sit with the government to sort out their issues in a legitimate fashion. “The TRS government is always considerate to the issues of RTC employees,” Keshav Rao said.

Referring to suicides by a RTC driver and conductor, Keshav Rao said he was “deeply pained at the deaths of two striking RTC employees. Self-immolation or suicide is no solution to any problem,” the senior party leader said.

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He said it was the state government that had given RTC employees 44% increment in salaries in addition to a 16% interim relief. He also said that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s statement that there was no question of privatizing RTC was a significant one. “The three-tier arrangement being considered by the government of 50% RTC, 30% stage carriages, and 20% private vehicles, must be viewed as an experiment against the backdrop of the ongoing agitation and the conditions of the sagging bus transport sector in the country, particularly in the State,” he said.

Keshav Rao said as head of the TRS manifesto committee for the 2018 Assembly elections, he can make it clear that at no time did the party consider the merger of RTC with the State.

“There was, therefore, no thinking, let alone a promise anytime over the merger of RTC or any other public sector enterprise with the government,” he said.

Keshav Rao explained that there was a lot of difference between a State and public undertaking/enterprise, run under the control of a government. “Social control is always preferred over State control. The government is not a commercial organization. No vested party can dictate policy formulation to an elected government,” Keshav Rao said. #KhabarLive

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