Karnataka Road Transport Corporations Employees Association’s president and farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar on Tuesday said that if the government wants to enforce the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) on the RTC employees, then 1.30 lakh people, including the family members of the KRTC employees, are ready to go to jail.
Reacting sharply to Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar’s warning, Chandrashekhar told reporters that the state government had given a written assurance on December 15, 2020 when the association had called off its indefinite agitation.
“The association had set the deadline to implement these assurances too. Now after three months, the state government is going back on its own promises. Therefore, employees are going on indefinite strike,” he said.
He also appealed to the employees not to get disturbed by the threats issued by the Karnataka government. “If they enforce ESMA on us, let us all including our family members voluntarily go to jail and continue our protest from there. Let us continue our protest and agitation through peaceful means alone,” he said.
The farmer leader said that there are always legal solutions for every Act in this country and the association too will explore those options. “People in the state are observing how the ruling dispensation was behaving with its own people. By imposing ESMA, the ruling dispensation is only showing its true colour of suppressing rightful demands of employees who are working hard with their half empty stomach to fill the coffers,” he alleged.
He added that the present state government was repeating the mistakes of past governments in such scenarios. Talking tough does not do any good, it will only push the other person to take a tougher stance on an issue. “All issues raised by our members are solvable amicably and if the government wants to take tough stand, so be it,” he said.