In another jolt to transport services that have come to halt due to the ongoing TSRTC employees strike in Telangana, the Telangana State Taxi and Drivers Joint Action committee (TSTD JAC) decided to go off the roads on October 19.
The TSTD JAC announced on Wednesday that the Ola and Uber cab drivers working for the corporate companies in Hyderabad will launch an indefinite strike as the government failed to address their grievances.
Shaik Salauddin, the Chairman of the Telangana State Taxi and Drivers JAC (TSTD JAC), wrote a letter saying 50,000 cabs will be going on an indefinite strike against Uber, Ola and IT Companies beginning on 19th October, 2019.
He added in his letter that this decision has been arrived at following a ballot conducted on 16th October 2019, in which 75 per cent (or 3/4th) of the votes cast were in favour of the strike. “This indefinite strike is being organized in support of our demands that were made earlier by TSTD JAC to the Transport Ministry, TS State (letter dated: 30-08-2019) and also directly to Uber, Ola and IT Sector Companies,” read the letter.
It is expected that at least 50,000 cabs will stay off the roads as part of the strike. The TSTD JAC has been demanding that the government and the cab aggregators charge a minimum fare of Rs 22 per Kilometre.
The cab drivers association also demanded that the government impose a cap on the number of cabs attached to each aggregator so as to ensure minimum business guarantee to all drivers. Apart from this the list included many other demands related to their welfare and security.
The association reportedly put forth their demands to the Transport Ministry which failed to acknowledge them.
On the same day i.e, October 19 the TSRTC also called for a state wide bandh. Almost all the opposition parties and various other unions pledged their support to the bandh.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Chief Uttam Kumar Reddy openly supported the cause of the protesting employees. BJP and TDP have also declared their support to the TSRTC employees.
Senior Cong leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy told India Ahead News that “people are regretting formation of a separate state because of the attitude of CM KCR. Government’s conspiracy is to privatise RTC and hand over RS 50,000 crore worth properties to his friends.”
He added that the “government is lying about alternate arrangements to the court. Not only very few buses are running, the ones running are not safe to travel because of the inexperience of the drivers. There have been so many accidents. Government has no choice but to sit on a negotiation table with the protesting employees of the RTC and fulfill all their demands.”
The TSRTC employees have been protesting since October 5, and the protests took a serious turn when employees began committing suicides due to depression over job loss. A driver and a conductor committed suicide by self-immolation in Khammam and Hyderabad after which the protests intensified across the state.
Senior TRS leader K Keshav Rao, a couple of days ago urged the employees to hold talks with the state government and put forward their demands and debate over it with an exception to merger of TSRTC with the government which is the main demand of the employees.