Relief in Seemandhra as power employees call off strike
In a major relief to people of Seemandhra, employees of electricity entities Thursday called off their strike but other government staff continued the stir to protest the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh.
After talks with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, leaders of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Seemandhra electricity employees told reporters that the employees would return to work from Friday morning. They said they were "temporarily" suspending the strike in view of a cyclone threat.
The chief minister appealed to the employees to end the strike as it was causing severe hardships to people and also in view of the threat to coastal region from a severe cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal.
The leaders said the chief minister assured them that the bill for formation of Telangana would come to the assembly twice and that it would be defeated.
JAC president R. Saibaba said if necessary the employees would resume the strike if any step was taken for formation of a separate Telangana state. "This was only a sample. We showed to the aentre what a power strike is," he said.
The JAC decision came as a major relief to people of Seemandhra, reeling without power for the last five days. Power generation and transmission was crippled in all 13 districts of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions), causing acute hardships to people, severely affecting medical services, disrupting movement of trains and bringing the industrial production to a halt.
Over 30,000 electricity employees were participating in the strike, which paralysed generation of 4,000 MW at all thermal and hydel power plants in Seemandhra.
Over six lakh government employees and teachers continued their strike in Seemandhra for the 59th day Thursday. During the talks with the chief minister WEdnesday, their leaders refused to call off the strike till they get a clear assurance that state would remain united.
The strike has brought the official machinery to a standstill, causing a huge revenue loss to the government. The government-run schools have remained shut for nearly two months while over 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) have remained off the roads.
Protests against the decision to create a separate Telangana state continued for the 72nd day across Seemandhra. It was after July 30 decision of the Congress party that protests erupted in the two regions. After the union cabinet approved formation of Telangana state last week, the agitation intensified.
Curfew also continued in violence-hit Vizianagaram town in north coastal Andhra for the fifth day. No untoward incident was reported during four-hour relaxation.
The centre has sent 30 additional companies of paramilitary forces to the state for deployment in Seemandhra to tackle anti-Telangana protests. Already 45 companies were deployed in Seemandhra.
In Delhi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu continued his hunger strike for the fourth day. Several TDP leaders and activists were accompanying Naidu at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan. The former chief minister is demanding justice to all Telugus. He wants the central government to hold talks with leaders of all regions to find amicable solution.
In Hyderabad, doctors forcibly administered fluids to YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who too was on an indefinite fast. Police forcibly shifted him from his hunger strike camp to Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMs) late Wednesday night.
Demanding that the central government keep the state united, Jagan was on fast for five days, and as his condition was deteriorating police removed him to the hospital.
(Posted on 10-10-2013)