Transport services in Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region came to a standstill Monday as all employees of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) joined the indefinite general strike and groups demanding a separate Telangana state blocked highways.
About 10,000 buses went off the roads in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana as over 54,000 RTC employees joined the strike, paralysing road transport and causing severe inconvenience to commuters, officials said.
Raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", RTC employees staged demonstrations outside the bus depots and stayed away from work.
The strike by government employees, teachers and workers of state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Ltd entered the seventh day Monday, crippling the administration, closing down schools and bringing coal production to a halt.
Lawyers are also boycotting the courts while doctors in government-run hospitals are staging protests for a separate state. Electricity departments employees are also set to join the strike Monday by not collecting the bills.
In Hyderabad, the RTC strike paralysed the city bus services. Students and office-goers going to schools and work places had a tough time reaching their destinations.
The usually busy Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) wore a deserted look as all the 3,000 bus services to various parts of the state were cancelled.
While buses to cities like Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Tirupati and other places in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions were cancelled Sunday night, the services to all the towns in Telangana were withdrawn early Monday.
RTC managing director Prasada Rao said they were making alternate arrangements to operate buses. Hundreds of policemen and those from paramilitary forces were deployed at bus stations as RTC management was using the services of retired drivers and ex-servicemen.
In an attempt to minimise inconvenience to people, the transport department has given freedom to private vehicle operators to run their services across the region. Seven-seater auto-rickshaws, which are not allowed in Hyderabad city on normal days, are being permitted to operate.
The railways are operating additional local trains in Hyderabad and also to various destinations in the state.
Transport services between Telangana, other parts of the state, and neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra also came to a standstill Monday as Telangana activists began the daylong road blockade.
"The movement has intensified and it will continue till we achieve our goal," said Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Harish Rao while leading the road blockade at Kodada in Nalgonda district, blocking all vehicles coming from coastal Andhra region.
The protestors also blocked highways connecting Telangana to Rayalaseema, Maharashtra and Karnataka.(IANS)