A woman bus conductor working for Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, whose employees are on strike since October 5 over various demands, allegedly committed suicide by hanging at her home in Hyderabad, police said. This is the second suicide by an agitating employee in the town and third in the state after the RTC staff commenced their stir. Neeraja, a conductor working in the Sathupally depot took the extreme step on Sunday night, police Commissioner Tafseer Iqubal said.
Meanwhile, former CPI MLA K Sambasiva Rao, who began an indefinite fast two days ago in support of the striking employees, was shifted to a government hospital in Hyderabad by police on Monday after his health caused concern. Rao, who launched his fast on Saturday last, was admitted to the state-run Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in the early hours of Monday as his blood pressure and sugar levels were down, police said.
Sambasiva Rao, however, claimed that he was continuing his fast in the hospital. Neeraja's bereaved family said she was depressed over losing her job in the wake of the ongoing strike. The RTC employees gathered in large numbers at Neeraja's house and shouted slogans against the state government.
Earlier, Srinivas Reddy, working in the Khammam bus depot as driver allegedly committed suicide by setting himself ablaze at his house in Khammam on October 12. Two days later, Surender Goud, a conductor, hanged himself from a ceiling fan at his house in the state capital. RTC employees and the activists of Congress and other opposition parties held rallies, sit-ins and other forms of protest on Monday in support of the strike which entered the 24th day.
The protesting employees and others submitted memoranda to district Collectors over their demands. Talks between the TSRTC management and unions, held on Saturday for the first time since the workers went on strike on October 5 over various demands, failed to achieve a breakthrough as there was no consensus on the agenda.
Over 48,000 RTC employees are on strike, demanding among others, demanding merger of the RTC with the government, pay revision, recruitment to various posts, among others. The RTC employees and workers have been carrying out protests across the state over their demands, with political parties and different organisations extending their support. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has rejected the merger demand of the striking employees. The High Court had on October 18 directed the RTC and employees to hold talks and settle all their disputes before October 28 and report to the court about the settlement.
Following the directive, the state government decided to examine the demands, other than merger of TSRTC with the government.