Privatisation of RTC routes: Congress, BJP on same page

Hyderabad: The ongoing RTC strike is likely to rock the new Parliamentary session, scheduled to begin Mon-day, as the MPs of TRS, BJP and Congress have decided to raise the issue in the house. The RTC strike would touch its 45th day when Parliament starts. Around 20 striking RTC employees have died due to various reasons, including suicides, since the strike started on October 5.

All opposition parties in Telangana are supporting the RTC strike and participating in the continuing protests. But the state government is not responding through action or making any sincere efforts to resolve the strike.

Both the BJP and Congress in Telangana are opposing the state government’s decision on privatization of RTC routes.

The BJP in the state is strongly objecting to the privatization of RTC routes. The state government has, however, argues that the decision to privatise RTC routes has been taken in accordance with the central government’s Motor Vehicles Act.

The BJP leaders object to this rationalisation, saying the new MVA was meant to curb high rate of road accidents and promote safe driving. They allege that the TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao was twisting facts to claim that the BJP-led central government had permitted privatization of RTCs under this act.

BJP leaders point out that Mr Rao had announced in the assembly that Telangana would not implement the new MV act. How can he now claim to have taken a decision on privatisation as per central government’s new act, they question.

The Congress is also opposing the privatization of RTC. It criticised both the state and central governments on privatization of public sector institutions. On a different issue, the BJP MPs from Telagnana state would raise the notice on Privilege Motion against Karimnagar district police commissionerate for physically assaulting Bandi Sanjay Kumar, BJP MP, Karimnagar. This incident occurred when Bandi Sanjay Kumar participated in the funeral of an RTC driver, N. Babu, at Aarepalli in Karimnagar district on November 1. Mr Kumar has submitted a privilege motion notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla a few days ago. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has registered a case on this incident.

The BJP MPs have decided to attack the TRS government in Parliament by bringing out facts on all these issues. They are upbeat because the Central government had argued in the High Court that the state government could not take a decision on RTC as per the present act because the act was brought by combined AP government.

Moreover, the central government owned 34 per cent share in APSRTC, which according to its affidavit in HC, has still not been bifurcated and its assets are still to be divided between the residuary states of Telangana and AP. Given the setting, the TRS may face a tough time in countering the BJP.

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