New Delhi: A day after urging the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees and workers to join back work by November 5, the Telangana Chief Minister’s office (CMO) on Monday issued a statement saying if the employees don’t return to work, then they will never be taken back by the government in the days to come.

“The state government has decided not to take back on duty those Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees and workers, who fail to report to duty by Tuesday midnight,” the Telangana CMO said in a statement.

The CMO also threatened to privatise the rest of 5000 routes in the state and private buses will be given permits.

“The government has made it clear that if the workers and employees do not join the duties by expiry of the deadline, in the rest of 5000 routes, private buses will be given permits and then there would not be any entity called Road Transport Corporation (RTC) in the state,” the statement added.

The statement from the CMO comes after state chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday appealed to Road Transport Corporation (RTC) workers to rejoin before November 5. The CM said ‘if not, we will give permission to another important 5000 routes.’

The development comes as the employees have been sitting on a state-wide strike since October 5 over several demands, including the merger of the RTC with the state government.

Replying to workers’ demand on the merger, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday strongly said that there will be no merger of the transport corporation with the state government on any condition.

“On any condition, there is no merger of RTC with government, this is decided by the state cabinet. 5100 private buses permission are granted in the state. This strike is declared illegal by labour commissioner. If any strike (is) declared illegal then employees and department relation do not exist. This agitation has started especially during the students’ exams and festive season,” Rao was quoted as saying by ANI.

Rao went on to say that the Central government has brought the Motor Vehicle Act which permits privatisation, it is the law of land. He also said that 67 per cent hike was done by the state government.

“After the privatisation, all the passes will be valid and accepted. I am not bulldozing, according to the Centre’s decision, we are acting. We will always work by keeping the public necessity in mind. 5,100 private buses are given route permit in the state. The RTC is demanding for never-ending wishes. The Cabinet decided not to merge RTC with the government. Government has courtesy towards the small jobs. And that is the reason we are hiking their salaries. There is no change in the cabinet decision of privatisation,” Rao added.

In the past month, few TSRTC employees have lost their lives either by committing suicide or depressed by the demonstration, during the ongoing protests against the state government.