Telangana strike completes a month!

HYDERABAD: The indefinite "people’s strike" in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh to demand a separate state completed 30 days Wednesday.

The administration remained paralysed as government employees continued their strike while coal production in the state-owned Singareni Collieries continued to be crippled.

The Telangana employees’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) rejected the government invitation for talks saying there would be no talks unless the government takes back all cases booked against its leaders.

"On the one hand the government is inviting us for talks while on the other it is booking cases against us. The atmosphere is not congenial for negotiations," JAC leader Swami Goud told reporters Wednesday.

The government had invited employees’ leaders for talks at 12 noon Wednesday but the JAC meeting held in the morning rejected it.

Despite a section of employees of the state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) calling off the strike, the majority of 10,000 buses remained off the roads in Telangana for the 24th day.

The APSRTC authorities are operating over 1,000 buses in Hyderabad and some services in Khammam but transport services in eight other districts remained paralysed.

Telangana leaders of the National Mazdoor Union (NMU) in APSRTC formed their own group to continue the strike after some NMU leaders Monday announced calling off the strike.

Coal production in 50 mines of Singareni spread over four districts also continued to be affected due to the strike by employees. The company with the help of a section of employees producing about 60,000 tonnes of coal everyday against the normal production of 150,000 tonnes.

The coal workers’ strike has triggered a crisis in electricity generation and supply in Andhra Pradesh and also affected Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states.

While more government and private educational institutions opened in Hyderabad Wednesday under police security, the schools and colleges in rest of Telangana remained closed for a month.

According to the Telangana JAC, which is spearheading the strike, over 120,000 government teachers along with 400,000 government employees were on strike.

With the excise department employees too joining the strike last week, liquor manufacture and sale has been affected in Telangana. The work in courts also remains affected due to the strike by lawyers fighting for a separate Telangana state.

JAC leaders claim the strike is a total success and the non-payment of salaries and festival advance, arrests, booking of cases and other "repressive" measures by the government failed to break the resolve of employees.

The government is losing an estimated Rs.100 crore of revenue every day due to the strike. The losses to Singareni are Rs.25 crore while RTC is losing Rs.7 crore every day.(IANS)

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