Hyderabad, (Hindustan Times): Telangana statehood issue is heading towards a political and civic crisis with power employees’ strike in Seemandhra spreading to all the 13 districts on Tuesday.
What’s happening on Tuesday
Curfew in Vizianagaram town was eased for an hour on Tuesday morning after normalcy began to return in the violence-hit area even as strict vigil was being maintained during the relaxation period.
The curfew and shoot-on-sight orders are in force in Vizianagaram since Sunday, with an hour’s (7am-8pm) relaxation on Tuesday.
He said the situation is peaceful and now under control as there has been no fresh violence since Monday.
In view of the power crisis, several passenger and express trains from Hyderabad and en route have been cancelled.
Simhadri, Janmabhoomi, Tirumala, Dakshin link, Garibrath, Duranto, Visakhaptnam- Nanded, Koraput-Visakhaptnam inter-city Express from Visakhapatnam were cancelled.
Also passenger trains including Visakhpatnam-Palasa, Visakhaptnam-Rayagada, Visakhaptnam-Durg, Visakhpatnam Raipur, Rajahmundry- Visakhpatnam, Vijaywada-Visakhaptnam and other passenger trains have been cancelled.
Industrial units in Visakhapatnam and surrounding areas were badly hit on Monday due to lack of power supply.
However, the shore-based Visakhapatnam steel plant and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Refinery was running with its captive power plant.
Also, north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Viziangaram and Visakhapatnam remained in dark on Monday as power employees joined the agitation over the state division.
Vizianagaram, a town in coastal Andhra, has been roiling since the Union Cabinet’s October 3 decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.
Political observers say if the situation continues, the Centre would have no option but to impose the President’s rule to restore the situation.
Power crisis hits state
The strike has severely affected hospitals and has now pushed major airports on emergency power supply.
According to a TV report, Vijaywada, Tirupati and Vizag airports are already running on power backup and if nothing soon was done, the daily air traffic from there would be severely hit.
Over 50 lakh households in five districts have had no power since 9 am on Monday. Several hospitals in the Seemandhra region have been badly hit. The power blackout has rendered neo-natal ward incubators at King George Hospital in Vizag non-functional, an IBN7 report said.
The employees of the state power generation, transmission and distribution companies began an indefinite strike on Sunday, which badly affected the power generation and supply situation in the two regions and also Hyderabad.
The strike has forced cancellation of several train services.
According to power system operation corporation of Power Grid figures, as many as three transmission lines of 400 kv and another two lines of 400/220 kv were tripped due to the agitations in Seemandhra region.
The figures suggested that only 2,990 MW thermal power was produced as against the installed capacity of 6,090 MW yesterday. Similarly, power from the hydel generation stood at 1,694 MW against the installed capacity of 3,937 MW.
Several gas-based power plants are also not functioning due to gas shortage problems.
The employees have announced a fresh programme of agitations till October 20. They said they preferred to hold talks with the chief minister and not with others.
The power cuts forced the state-run as well as private hospitals to use diesel generators to run the day-to-day affairs thus inconveniencing patients and affecting services.
The power employees had sought resignation of the minister for the cause of united Andhra.
Won’t allow creation of Telangana: CM
Meanwhile, a defiant Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy declared that he would neither resign from his post nor allow the creation of a Telangana state.
“My post is not important. It is not permanent. But the state is permanent. We must keep that in mind before taking a very important decision like bifurcation of a big state like Andhra Pradesh,” Reddy told CNN IBN. He said, “There is anger against division, against party and against us too. Progress is possible in a united state.”
On Monday, Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu began a hunger strike against the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation.
He began his fast after a visit to Rajghat. Though he was reportedly denied permission to fast at Andhra Bhawan in central Delhi, he was there in the evening, continuing his fast.
Naidu condemned the Congress on the bifurcation of the state and charged it with playing politics but had remained non-committal on the statehood for Telangana issue.
“We have to do justice for both areas (Telangana and Seemandhra), discuss with people of both areas, resolve the problem amicably. If there is a new government, we will resolve it within six months,” he claimed.
Slamming the Congress, he used the Italian word ‘immobilismo’, meaning standstill, to describe the Andhra situation. “The government in Delhi understands the Italian language. It is more appropriate for the government in Delhi and Congress party also,” he said. Adding to the UPA government’s difficulties, four Union ministers from Seemandhra have already offered their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in protest against the Union cabinet’s nod to the splitting of Andhra Pradesh and requested him to accept their resignations.
HRD minister MM Pallam Raju, tourism minister K Chiranjeevi, minister of state for commerce D Purandeswari and minister of state for railways Surya Prakash Reddy also decided not to attend office in protest against the cabinet’s decision to create a Telangana state.
Singh told them he will look into their request.