Threatened by tens of thousands of striking public transport workers, the longest strike of its kind in the newest Indian state, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday night said he will take an unprecedented step to privatize public transport bus routes to avert the chaos.
He said state cabinet decided to allot 5,100 of 10,400 routes to private operators and warned that other routes would also be given to them if those on strike don't join duty by midnight of 5 Nov.
The CM said there's no question of RTC merger with the state government under any circumstances, a long-standing demand of the unions. He said there would be a transport commission to regulate the private operators so that the passengers were not fleeced.
Rao told reporters that he was giving a chance to the striking employees to save their jobs and the future of their families. "If they don't return to work by 5 November midnight, we will privatize the remaining 5,000 routes," he said. Rao said the decision to privatize the routes was irrevocable as the state was empowered to privatize the RTC under the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019.