Seemandhra employees refuse to call off strike
Andhra Pradesh government employees of Seemandhra Tuesday decided to continue their indefinite strike till the central government takes back the decision to divide the state.
The talks between the state government and leaders of Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers' (APNGOs) Association Tuesday evening failed to find a solution.
APNGOs Association president P. Ashok Babu told reporters after the meeting with Chief Secretary P. K. Mohanty that the strike would continue till they get an assurance that the decision to carve out separate Telangana state would be withdrawn.
Babu said since it was a political issue, it was for the government to respond to their demand.
He said they only conveyed to the chief minister the problems the employees of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) would face in the event of bifurcation.
He also made it clear that the employees were not afraid of government using Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
About seven lakh government employees, teachers and transport workers were on strike since Aug 13 to protest the Congress' decision to carve out Telangana state. The strike has paralysed administration while buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads and schools are shut in 13 districts of Seemandhra.
Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy Tuesday appealed to APNGOs to call off the strike in view of the hardships it was causing to people. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had last week made a similar appeal.
The government has not paid salaries to the striking employees. Out of Rs.1,300 crore paid every month to the employees in the state, only Rs.300 crore were paid.
Meanwhile, protests against Congress decision continued for the 63rd day in Seemandhra. Employees, workers, students, teachers and other sections of people took out rallies, stage sit-ins and form human chains to oppose bifurcation.
(Posted on 01-10-2013)