On 22nd day, no end in sight to Telangana strike

Hyderabad, Oct 4.

With the centre not giving any assurance on carving a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh, the indefinite ‘people’s strike’ in the region went into its 22nd day Tuesday with no end in sight.

Over 800,000 employees of the government, workers of the state-owned Singareni Collieries and Road Transport Corporation (RTC) and teachers continued to stay away from work.

Coal production in the Singareni mines, spread over four districts, remained crippled while buses of RTC were off the roads in Hyderabad and nine other districts for the 16th day.

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making no commitment during a meeting in New Delhi with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and other leaders Monday night, no end to the strike appears visible. In fact, the indications are that the stir will intensify.

KCR, as the TRS leader is popularly known, declared after meeting the prime minister that the strike would be intensified. He rejected the  prime minister’s appeal to call off the strike.

“The strike will not be called off under any circumstances unless the centre announces a road map for creation of Telangana state,” the MP said.

The strike is causing severe inconvenience to people as the administration has come to a standstill, electricity supply has been badly hit and public transport and education sector paralysed.

The strike is also having an impact on Dassehra and Bathukamma festivities. As the striking employees have not been paid salaries and festival bonus by the government and management of RTC, there are hardly any celebrations for their families.

Lack of public transport has also hit the celebrations with many families finding it difficult to join their near and dear ones in their home towns.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement, has ruled out calling off the strike.

“There is no alternative to the strike to achieve Telangana state,” JAC convenor M.  Kodandaram told reporters here Tuesday after his return from New Delhi.

He said the JAC had an action plan for the entire month of October. “If the centre still fails to respond we will intensify the agitation next month,” he said.

Kodandaram also claimed that there was some progress achieved in their visit to Delhi as the centre acknowledged the seriousness of the issue. He, however, said there was no need for any further consultations on the issue.

The JAC leader clarified that their fight was against the centre and not against the people of Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. He felt the attempts by the protesters to stop buses coming from Andhra into Telangana were not deliberate. [IANS]

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