Normalcy has returned to Telangana region. The month-long Sakala Janula Samme (strike by all sections of society including government employees) has lost its impact after government teachers, employees of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and the miners of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. (SCCL) agreed to “postpone” the strike. Since 18 October, several other bodies have also followed suit. Consequently, road and rail transport services, educational institutions and power supply to the region are on track.
Only government employees and the staff of state power distribution firms are on strike and will continue to protest until the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (T-JAC), the union of different political parties in the region, asks them to call it off. “There is no second thought. The Sakala Janula Samme was called by the T-JAC and we won’t relent unless told,” said Srinivas Goud, a (T-JAC) leader. A cabinet sub-committee led by Deputy Chief Minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha is in talks with the T-JAC to convince them to end the strike.
The postponement of the strike has evoked mixed responses in the state. People from coastal areas and Rayalaseema, who see a separate Telangana state as a threat to their interests, have hailed the ‘end of the strike’. Substantial number of people from these regions have migrated to Hyderabad city and made huge investments. They are dependent on the water from Krishna and Godavari rivers, which flow from the plateau region of Telangana. They are worried about inter-state water disputes and the rise of MNS-kind of forces in Hyderabad if the state is formed. The objectionable use of the word ‘settlers’ to refer to people from the two regions by Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders and repeated use a few provocative slogans have already created mistrust between them and the people from non-Telangana districts.
The loss in impact of the strike has outraged the people of Telangana. “How could the strike, which was going strong even on its 30th day, could collapse so suddenly?” questioned E Venkata Reddy, an MCA student who hails from Karimnagar district. According to Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, an activist who has been campaigning for the statehood, people of this region are feeling humiliated as they failed to get response from the government even after a month-long general strike. “People are resenting the role of political leaders. They believe it’s the opportunism of the leaders of this region that has lessened the impcat,” he said.
The T-JAC, led by Professor Kodandram, has alleged that Congress party has proved to be the first enemy to the people of Telangana. The T-JAC is trying to renew the weakening strike. According to a media analyst, depending on the support of government employees, who are dependent on salaries, and mere symbolic participation of political parties were the major weakness of the movement. “Most of the employees, particularly APSRTC, could not bear the effects. The refusal by RTC employees to continue with the protest caused the first major dent to the strike,” he said. “I think more effective methods are required to move the Centre. Probably, all the politicians in this region must resign and fast like Anna Hazare,” he added. Now, the T-JAC is planning to mount pressure on political parties, particularly the ruling Congress Party.
The state hasn’t been able to recover from the heavy losses caused by the general strike, which coinciding with bad monsoon, hit the farmers. Due to shortage of rainfall and power cuts, about 36 lakh acres of crops were destroyed, according to a report from the state agriculture department. The loss is likely to mount.
Though coal production in Singareni mines resumed on 18 October and power generation has improved, the situation is bad. “Now, the daily supply is about 240 million units (MU). However, due to bad monsoon, the demand has gone up to 280 MU from 265 MU,” said Ajay Jain, CMD of Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd. The APSRTC and SCCL have incurred the losses of about Rs 211.44 crore and Rs. 600 crore respectively. The industries are still struggling with power shutdowns.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy discussed the situation with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday apparently to convince the Centre to come up with a statement that could pacify the strikers particularly the government employees. When contacted, the Transport Minister and PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana maintained that the state government cannot take decision in this issue. “We have been trying our level best for a solution. But it’s the Centre, which has to take decision on this issue. Meanwhile, the cabinet subcommittee will continue talks with striking employees,” he said.
source from Tehlka, written by Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy is a freelance journalist based in Hyderabad.
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