HYDERABAD: Talks between the Andhra Pradesh government and striking employees in Telangana region failed Wednesday with the latter putting forth a charter of demands as a precondition for any further discussions.
Leaders of the Telangana employees’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) participated in the talks with a cabinet sub-committee but only to put forward their demands. These included withdrawal of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), scrapping of a government order on "no work no pay" rule and withdrawal of cases booked against striking employees. The JAC has also sought a probe into the police assault on its leader Swami Goud.
Finance Minister and member of the cabinet sub-committee Anam Ramnarayan Reddy told JAC leaders that they would respond after conveying the demands to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
He, however, appealed to the employees to call off the strike as their demand for a separate Telangana state was not within the purview of the state government.
JAC leaders, who had earlier rejected the invitation for talks, later decided to meet the sub-committee to convey their demands.
Swami Goud said there could be no meaningful talks without the government taking steps to create a congenial atmosphere. "The government, on the one hand, is inviting us for talks and, on the other, booking serious cases against us," he said.
He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately intervene in the month-long strike in Telangana.
Over 400,000 government employees in the region have been on strike since Sep 13, seeking immediate steps to carve out a separate Telangana state.(IANS)