January 22, 2023

Transport Workers Sangharsh Jatha

S Veeraiah

TRANSPORT Workers Sangharsh Jatha was held in Telangana from January 3-11. There was a huge response to the jatha programme. Jatha was organised to know the problems faced by the transport workers at grassroots level, and also  toorganise and unite them and build struggles.

Jatha was led by S Veeraiah and P Srikanth, president and general secretary of Telangana Public and Private Road Transport Workers Federation, respectively. The main demands include: Government should establish welfare board for transport workers;  Save and strengthen the RTC;  Amend Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019.

The jatha started from Khammam and passed through 2,780 kilometres, covering 24 districts and addressed meetings in 49 centres covering transport addas and RTC depots. Rallies were held during Jatha in Hyderabad, Warangal and other cities like Sangareddy, Hanumakonda, Mahaboobabad and Miryalaguda, in which hundreds of transport workers participated. In Nizamabad, Miryalaguda and Sangareddy, workers also made monetary contribution towards the jatha campaign.

Houses of transport workers reflect the real conditions of their life. Leaders of the jatha stayed and took food, breakfast in the houses of transport workers. There are some houses with very small rooms where one cannot even stand properly. The transport workers are from SC, ST, BC, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and economically weaker families.

Everywhere, drivers expressed the problem of vehicle stand. People need auto stand nearby the bus stand, hospital, business centres, temples etc. Drivers are also benefitted with this facility. But police are forcing them to park the vehicles far away from these places. Penalties are increased many folds. Police harassment is a serious problem, they said. They told about the exploitation by online portals also. Lorry, auto tally and garbage vehicle drivers also expressed other problems. RTC employees are worried about restrictions on their unions and other problems.

Many unions affiliated to AITUC, INTUC and independent unions welcomed and garlanded the leaders. Unions in the RTC depots also welcomed the jatha leaders.

Jai Hanuman auto workers union welcomed the jatha. Its president is Mansoor Pasha.  Leaders of Jai Sriram auto workers union, including its vice president ‘Raheem’, also welcomed the jatha. There are many unions like Aadi Jambava union, Sri Laxmi Narsimha Swamy union, etc., whatever is their name, they do not see any difference in the name of caste or religion. They are leading their unions unitedly. Workers are also united in this campaign. Transport workers like Shoukath Ali and Pasha are from Muslim families, Babu and Nixon from Christian families and many others belonging to SC, ST, BC and other Hindu families, all of them invited the jatha leaders and offered food and stay arrangements. Members of all these families heartily welcomed the leaders.

Jatha has explained to them the importance of unity and the danger of the policies of the Modi government, and how the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 and prices of petrol and diesel are detrimental to the workers of the transport sector.