Hyderabad: After five days of strikes by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) that have paralysed the city, a Joint Action Committee (JAC) has decided to intensify the stir by enlisting the help of all opposition parties as well as the unions of government employees, teachers, coal miners and others.

An All Party meeting held by the JAC convener Ashwaddhama Reddy on Wednesday discussed various ideas including a general strike to put pressure on K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s government. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the BJP, TDP and the left parties, all of whom declared their support for the striking employees.

Meanwhile, the state government has not only fired 48,140 employees of the RTC but was following it up with more measures. It has asked the Chief Secretary of State Transport Department Sunil Sharma to initiate the process to recruit new drivers and conductors to fill the vacancies caused by the mass dismissal of employees.

While the Chief Minister insisted that it was an illegal strike, the JAC maintains that it was the right of employees to strike and make just demands.

As part of its stringent measures, the government has directed the authorities of RTC hospitals to stop extending medical care to the family members of the fired employees.

While there have been numerous strikes by RTC employees in the past, this is the first time that a state government has resorted to such draconian measures.

JAC was demanding the merger of TSRTC into the government, with better pay and working conditions, and decreasing the burden of VAT on diesel consumed by the RTC buses.

Reddy alleged that the KCR government was trying to obliterate the RTC through its repressive measures. Seeking support from the unions of all the government employees Reddy said: “The union should show the same spirit of struggle to protect RTC as they had shown during the movement for separate Telangana state”.

“The government has imposed VAT of 27 per cent on diesel which is the highest among all the states,” he added.

He announced that very soon a massive public meeting will be organised with the participation of all the opposition political parties and the government employees and teachers union.

Fact Box

— RTC employees have been on strike since September 5.

— Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced that except 1,200 staff, all the remaining 48,000 employees are fired as they failed to return to work by deadline on Saturday evening.

— The main demand of the striking employees was the merger of RTC into the state government.

— State government has rejected the demand saying the RTC was incurring huge losses of Rs12 billion (Dh620 million) per annum and had accumulated losses of Rs50 billion.

— Unions and the opposition parties blame the state government for the financial mess in the corporation.

— State government was now planning to partially privatise the RTC and also recruit new drivers and conductors.