Telangana strike enters 25th day!

The general strike in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh entered its 25th day on Friday as the impasse continues over the demand for a separate state.

Government employees, teachers, workers in Singareni coal mines and Road Transport Corporation (RTC) are continuing their strike to press the central government to initiate the formation of a separate Telangana state.

With the centre seeking more time to resolve the issue, an early end to the strike is not in sight.

After a break for subdued Dussehra festivities, the protests resumed in the region Friday with striking employees taking out rallies and holding demonstrations in various districts.

Over 10,000 buses of state-owned RTC remained off the roads for the 19th day in Hyderabad and nine other Telangana districts. While the authorities are operating about 200 buses in Hyderabad with the help of private drivers, the road transport in the rest of the region remained paralysed.

RTC officials say the corporation is suffering a daily loss of Rs.7 crore.

As an overwhelming majority of about 70,000 employees in state-owned Singareni Collieries continue the strike, the coal production in 50 mines spread over four districts remains crippled.

The company is producing only 36,000 tonnes of coal against its normal daily production of 150,000 tonnes. The power crisis may deepen further as the thermal power stations run out of coal stocks.

With a daily deficit of 56 million units of power, the state authorities have already imposed four hour power cut in cities and six to 10 hours in semi-urban and rural areas. A two-day power holiday in a week is in force for industries, in addition to daily four hour peak time blackout. Farmers were also hit as they were supplied power for six hours against the normal seven hours a day.

The situation may turn worse with the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) going ahead with the three-day rail blockade Oct 9, 10 and 11. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) fears a major problem for its Ramagundam thermal station if the coal supplies from other sources were hit due to the blockade.

NTPC Ramagundam is generating only 1,750 MW daily against its capacity of 2,600 MW, hitting the power supply to Andhra Pradesh and other southern states.

Due to the strike in Singareni, NTPC is getting coal from sources outside the state.

The generation of power in thermal stations in the state has already come down from 109 million units to 76 million units.

Singareni officials said the strike was causing a daily loss of Rs.25 crore.

The strike by government employees has already paralysed the administration in the region. The government is losing revenues of over Rs.200 crore every day due to the strike in all key departments.

As teachers also continue the strike, schools and colleges are likely to declare extended holidays for Dussehra. The educational institutions, which remained closed for 20 days due to the strike, were scheduled to open Monday.(IANS)

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