Telangana, Nov 13, 2019 : Another employee of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) killed himself by consuming pesticide in Mahabubabad district on Wednesday, the 40th day of an indefinite strike by RTC employees across the state.
It’s the fifth suicide by an RTC worker in the past month. Employees of the state-owned transporter have been on strike demanding a revision of salaries pending since April 2017 and recruitment to vacant posts as to Hindustan Times.
Mahabubabad police said Avula Naresh, 45, a driver at the local RTC depot, ended his life by consuming pesticide because of financial troubles. “He was rushed to the local area hospital, where he died while undergoing treatment,” district superintendent of police Nandyala Koti Reddy told Hindustan Times.
Naresh left a suicide note in which he wrote that he was committing suicide because of financial problems caused by non-payment of his salary. Holding Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao responsible for his death, he appealed to Rao to ensure justice to the families of RTC employees.
“My death should be the last one among the RTC employees. No other employee should face the kind of difficulties I have been facing. Our family could not celebrate Diwali and we had no food and no new clothes for the festival. I sincerely wish at least after seeing my death, the chief minister will solve our demands,” Naresh wrote in the suicide note, according to the police.
Naresh, who belonged to Yellampet village in Maripeda block, had been working as a driver in the RTC since 2007. He had been actively participating in the ongoing strike. He is survived by his wife Poolamma and two school-going sons – Srikanth and Sai Kiran.
“Poolamma has been suffering from an illness for the last five years and Naresh was spending Rs 5,000 on her medicines every month. Added to this, the expenses on his children’s education caused a huge burden on him. Since he had not been getting a salary for the last two months, Naresh was under tremendous stress,” one of his colleagues in Mahabubabad depot told reporters.
On coming to know about Naresh’s death, a large number of RTC workers and activists of political parties gathered at the hospital and raised slogans against the government for its perceived indifference to the plight of the the striking RTC employees.
They tried to take out a rally with the body of Naresh from the hospital to the bus depot, but the police blocked their attempt. “At present, the RTC workers have blocked the road and are staging a dharna along with the body of the deceased,” the SP said.
This is the fifth suicide by RTC workers in the last one month. On October 28, K Neeraja, 31, working as a conductor in the Sattupalli RTC depot, hanged herself at her residence in Kaviraja Nagar colony in Khammam town. Two before this incident, a 53-year old driver of Narketpally depot in Nalgonda district committed suicide by consuming pesticide.
On October 12, a 52-year old driver, D Srinivasa Reddy of Khammam depot, died by setting himself ablaze. A conductor, B Srinivasa Goud, 46, of Ranigunz depot of Secunderabad, committed suicide at his residence on the outskirts of Hyderabad on October 13.
But, KCR declared that more than 48,000 employees who had been on strike since October 25, stood dismissed. An attempt to hold talks with the striking unions following a direction from the high court also failed.