Government decides to act tough as it gears for a bandh called by pro-Telangana activists on Monday. There is also heavy deployment of forces along the railway tracks in the state. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
The 'rail roko' agitation in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, which entered day two on Monday, has put the Andhra Pradesh government in a quandary. The government is now trying desperately to break the agitation.
Sources in the government say that they cannot let normal life be affected badly and the time had come to resort to some tough measures. Starting Sunday, prohibitory orders have been imposed in the state and would be in force until October 26.
The biggest problem that the government faced was the strike at Singareni, where coal production had come to a halt. As a result, there has been terrible power shortage not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in the neighbouring states. However, as of now, there is some normalcy that has been restored as some workers from the neighbouring district of Kammam have reported to work at Singareni.
These workers went back to duty after the government offered them three times the wage per day. Coal production has now started although not on a large scale. The government is hopeful that normalcy would be restored very soon.
The deadlock over the issue of separate statehood for Telangana however continues. The government and the activists have not yet been able to come to any sort of agreement on the issue. They had hoped that the Centre would resolve the issue, but there have been no signals whatsoever from the capital regarding a resolution.
However, the message that the government is sending out at the moment is very clear - they would act tough and would do anything to restore normalcy in the state.
The road transport corporation, which had called off its strike owing to losses over Rs 2000 crore, has now decided that it would join the agitation once again at a later date. Although officially they say that they did not want to cause further problems for the public, the real reason is that they wanted to make up for the huge loss they had incurred being on strike for over ten days in support of the Telangana movement.
The AP government has also issued a warning to all schools and colleges to re-open by Monday failing which stringent action would be taken against them. They have also advised parents to send their children to schools and assured of all possible security.
Meanwhile, the government has also gone ahead and booked several cases against the protestors and added that more would be booked on Sunday. The number of cases is likely to shoot up from Sunday since there are prohibitory orders in place. On Saturday, seven members of Parliament from the Congress and one from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi were taken into preventive custody.
While the government gears up for the bandh, which has been called by pro-Telangana activists on Monday, there is also heavy deployment of forces along the railway tracks in the state. There have been reports of some activists removing fishplates along the tracks. This has led to over a 100 trains being cancelled and 60 being diverted, as it was reported that it would be highly dangerous to operate.