The statewide bandh called by the striking employees of TSRTC pressing various demands, including a merger of the corporation with the Telangana government, began on Saturday with the opposition parties actively supporting it.

The day witnessed incidents of stone-pelting in a few places. With the state-wide bandh, the indefinite strike entered the 15th day on Saturday.

Transport services were hit as a majority of the TSRTC buses remained confined to depots in Hyderabad and 32 other districts with protesting employees staging a sit-in to prevent the vehicles from coming out.

Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), the biggest bus station in Hyderabad, wore a near-deserted look as bus services to most of the destinations in Telangana and neighbouring states were suspended.

Adding to the woes of the commuters in Hyderabad, the Ola and Uber cab drivers also went on an indefinite strike from Saturday to press for their demands to regularise the cab aggregator market. The drivers’ association claimed that 50,000 cabs have gone off the roads.

The Opposition Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), Jana Sena, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), trade unions, various organisations of employees, teachers and workers, student bodies and people’s groups have given their support to the shutdown call of the striking TSRTC employees.

Police arrested leaders of the Opposition parties for staging protests along with the striking TSRTC employees at various places in the state. TJS president M Kodandaram, TDP leaders L Ramna and R Chandrashekhar Reddy and leaders of the Left parties were arrested by the police.

The bandh is being observed a day after the Telangana High Court had directed the state transport corporation and employees’ unions to hold talks and settle all disputes before October 28.

The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) strike has taken a serious turn with two deaths and three attempted suicides.

The employees were depressed over losing jobs as Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao refused to take back 48,000 employees into TSRTC as they had not joined the duty before the expiry of the government deadline.

Terming it as an “unpardonable crime”, the Telangana government on October 6 dismissed 48,000-odd employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) from service after they launched an indefinite strike demanding solution to their long-pending problems.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also ruled out taking back those who did not join duties before the deadline set by the government.

The Chief Minister has rejected all the demands of the striking employees including the main demand for merger of TSRTC with the government. He also ruled out talks with them.

Terming the strike as illegal, the Telangana government had set the deadline of 6 pm on October 5 for the striking workers to return to their duties.

(With agency inputs)