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How Telangana stir has hit business in Andhra Pradesh

Last updated on: October 08, 2013 09:45 IST

How Telangana stir has hit business in Andhra Pradesh

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BS Reporters in Hyderabad/ New Delhi

Even as the situation in Andhra Pradesh’s Seemandhra region showed no signs of improvement on Monday, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy found himself in the cross hairs for his handling of the agitation after the Centre’s decision to bifurcate the state.

The region remained powerless for a second day, as employees of the state’s power generation, transmission and distribution companies stayed away from work, in protest. 

They have announced a fresh agitation till October 20 but, for reasons not entirely clear, the CM has shown no sense of urgency and will have talks with them only on Wednesday.

Only 300 Mw of power was drawn, against a normal supply of 1,500 Mw, in five of the districts under Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (EPCPDCL), which caters to major coastal economic centres like Visakhapatnam. Similarly in six districts under Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd (SPDCL), which covers important coastal districts like Krishna, Guntur and Nellore, the actual supply was just about 450 Mw, against a normal supply of about 2,000 Mw. This indicates much of the distribution network was shut down by the striking employees.

The situation had turned serious on Sunday, when the power staff allegedly tripped the transmission sub-stations responsible for evacuation of power from 1,760-Mw Vijayawada Thermal Power Station in Krishna district and 1,720-Mw Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station in Kadapa district. Similarly a couple of Hydel projects, including the 770-Mw Srisailam Left Bank power house, had stopped generation since Sunday itself.

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Image: Protesters carry a wooden log past burning tyres during a protest against the creation of Telangana state, in Ananthapuram district in Andhra Pradesh.
Photographs: Reuters

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As the distribution network shutdown restricted power consumption, the drop in generation did not impact grid stability. However, any attempt to sabotage the 400-kV lines would threaten the stability of the entire Southern Grid, according to energy experts.

“The situation is quite bad,” conceded Munindra, special secretary of energy department. But no alternate arrangements appeared to have been made by the power utilities to avert the crisis, despite prior knowledge of an indefinite strike.

The strike had its inevitable repercussions. Hot metal output at the Visakhapatnam steel plant fell 70 per cent, from 10,000 tonnes a day to 3,000 tonnes.

Production of finished steel was completely stalled. The state grid supplies 130-150 Mw of the 260 Mw power required by the steel plant every year. The output loss on Monday was estimated at over Rs 20 crore.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The Visakhapatnam Port could handle only 25,000 tonnes of cargo on Monday, against a normal of 150,000 to 180,000 tonnes. Similarly, at Gangavaram port, only 5,000 tonnes of cargo was handled, against its daily capacity of about 70,000 tonnes.

South Central Railway (SCR) on Sunday cancelled seven trains between Vijayawada and Renigunta. “The losses, however, were minimal as these were passengers trains,” an SCR spokesperson told BS.

He said SCR was now scheduling its trains based on the power supply position, adding it was keeping ready diesel locos (engines) to tide over any power crisis going forward.

Branches of the region’s banks said ATMs were running out of cash and were running on diesel generators. Cable operators stopped services and petrol pumps were shutting down, as there was no power.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Weddings in the region had to be postponed. Hotel occupancy rates, 40 per cent on regular days, had slipped to 15-20 per cent, said Pradeep Kumar Dutt, general secretary of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Andhra Pradesh.

“The loss incurred by hotels in the Seemandhra region over the past few days has yet to be assessed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Union ministers M M Pallam Raju, K Chiranjeevi, D Purandeswari and Surya Prakash Reddy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and requested him to accept their resignations.

The ministers explained they wanted to be relieved of their duties, as there was tremendous backlash in their constituencies and they were not able to visit their home state.

Purandeswari later said the PM assured them he would look into their request.

After YSR Congress President Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who is already on an indefinite fast, Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu also launched on Monday his own indefinite fast against the division of the state, in Delhi.

 


Photographs: Reuters

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