In an unprecedented move, the Telangana government dismissed over 48,000 employees and workers of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) on Sunday for continuing their indefinite strike that the Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao, termed an "unpardonable crime".
The striking employees had refused to end their protest by the government's deadline.
Ruling out any further negotiations, KCR announced that only 1,200 employees are now left in TSRTC.
"It is an unpardonable crime that they went on a strike during the festive season and at a time when the TSRTC was incurring a huge loss of Rs. 1,200 crore and its debt burden had gone up to Rs. 5,000 crore," said KCR.
Nearly 50,000 TSRTC employees have been on a strike since Friday, with a list of 26 demands, including a merger with the government.
KCR said that there should a permanent end to blackmail tactics, indiscipline and actions that often create headaches.
At a review meeting with top officials, K Chandrashekhar Rao pressed for the appointment of new employees soon. He said the newly-recruited employees should be made to give an undertaking that they would not join any trade union.
KCR also directed the officials to immediately hire and operate 2,500 private buses. There are 4,114 private buses and if they are made into state carriages, they would also come under the TSRTC, he said.
He said a new beginning would be made in the history of TSRTC and it will be turned into a profit-making organisation. He noted that TSRTC is incurring losses to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore and has Rs 5,000 crore debts coupled with the ever-rising diesel prices.
It was decided that 50 per cent of the buses in TSRTC will be private buses while the remaining will be owned by the public utility.
The Chief Minister believes that if measures are taken in this direction and buses are run efficiently, TSRTC will become profitable in two to three years.
(With agency inputs.)