As large areas of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions reeled under power outages and shortage of essential goods on the fourth day of the shutdown on Monday,Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy called the various associations and employees unions of Seemandhra which are on an indefinite strike for talks on October 9.
Fuel stations ran out petrol and diesel as the highways continued to remain blocked,disrupting movement of oil tankers. In Kurnool and Vijayawada,people fought over milk packets and vegetables as supplies were hit due to the transport strike,and ATMs ran out of cash as banks and commercial establishments remained closed.
The power strike affected government and small private hospitals without generator back-up. While road transport remained completely paralysed,train services were also hit due to power outages.
Curfew continued for the third day in Vizianagaram town,where the anti-bifurcation protests turned violent on Sunday with protesters targeting properties owned by Transport Minister and PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana and his family members. Several persons who led the attacks,alleging that Satyanarayana and his family grabbed lands to build their properties,were taken into custody.
As protests continued unabated across the 13 districts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema on Monday,police lobbed teargas shells to disperse mobs indulging in stone-pelting and arson at a few places. Vizag Range DIG P Umapathi said the situation was better than Sunday but the curfew would remain.
Meanwhile,Y S Jaganmohan Reddys indefinite hunger strike entered the third day,while TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu began his hunger strike in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.
They (Congress party) are treating Andhra Pradesh issue as the internal affair of the party. They are interested in politics,not governance or state or people, said Naidu,who visited Rajghat before launching his fast.
Chandrababus indefinite fast in Delhi has no clarity on his demand as he has one foot in each region. He seems to be in a hurry and wants the Centre to expedite the division process if the sequence of his movements is closely observed, said Jaganmohan.
Going by the developments in Delhi and the manner in which it is going forward,the division process may not be completed before the general elections. As long as the Seemandhra movement continues,the Centre cannot dare to go ahead with the bifurcation process, he said.
Meanwhile,Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy called the protesting employees unions for talks on Wednesday,after P Ashok Babu,president of Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers Association and Seemandhra Secretariat Employees Association,met him at the Secretariat.
The CM said he would meet us and listen to our demands and grievances, said Babu. The employees who are on strike,however,said they have extended their strike till October 30.
With more than 30,000 electricity employees on strike,power generation and supply has taken a big hit and hundreds of villages in the coastal districts have had no electricity since Sunday afternoon. The Vizag Steel Plant,in a statement,said it is running solely on captive power.
The South Central Railway (SCR) officials have made alternative arrangements to use diesel locomotives in case of any emergency situation that may arise due to a possible major disruption to power supply to Railways.
SCR is geared up to handle the situation through various means like hauling important express trains with diesel locos,for which diesel locos have been kept ready on Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta Section; suitable diversions of long-distance express trains via convenient alternate routes in case of need; shutting down of goods trains and cancellation/ partial cancellation of short distance local passenger trains to facilitate movement of express trains as per the evolving situation, said SCR PRO Sambasiva Rao.