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Activists set to cut Telangana off from India

Last updated on: October 7, 2011 18:05 IST

Activists set to cut Telangana off from India

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Vicky Nanjappa

With the stir reaching Day 25 without a solution and amounting to a loss of over Rs 14,000 crore, there seems to be no end to the Telangana agitation, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

The just concluded Dusshera festivities may have toned down the tempo of the agitation in the past couple of days, but the future looks tough since the Telangana Joint Action Committee has already decided that it would conduct another 'rail-rokho' programme from October 9 to 11.

The second leg of the agitation is going to be even more intense with the activists deciding to cut off Telangana from the rest of the regions. This would be a high impact agitation since major roads will be blocked, the production of coal will suffer further and the neighbouring states depending on Telangana for rice and sugar will be severely affected.

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Image: A pro-Telangana demonstrator throws a stone towards riot police during a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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'We want other states to take notice of our agitation'

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Pro-Telangana activists and members of the JAC say that the protest at Singareni has had an impact on the neighbouring states, especially Karnataka, where power supply was hit.

"This means that another state has taken note of our protest and they in turn will protest, which will only make the issue bigger. We intend to do the same and would want to ensure that the rest of Andhra bears the brunt of this protest," a source closely related to the agitation said.

"There is already a deficit of 56 million units of power in Andhra Pradesh and this problem has spilled over the neighbouring states from where complaints have already begun. If the protests continue this way, then it won't be too long before the farming community starts to bear the brunt of the protest," the source added.

The AP government has already planned six hour power cuts in the Telangana region. However, it is only a matter of time before the government will have to take some concrete action since the daily losses due to this part of the strike is around Rs 25 crore.


Image: Pro-Telangana activists shout anti-government slogans during a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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No governance in Telangana for the past 25 days

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So far 10,000 buses have stopped plying and the State Road Transport Corporation is already complaining that it has been losing nearly Rs 8 crore a day.

The scenario among the private bus owners is also very grim and they find it extremely risky to operate their buses in the Telangana region where the agitation has turned violent at various places. The police personnel too have said that private buses would be plying in the Telangana region at their own risk as it is impossible to provide security to each and every vehicle that enters into the region.

Telangana activists say that the losses are mounting but the government continues to remain adamant. The Telangana region has not seen any governance in the past 25 days and this has resulted in a loss of Rs 200 crore per day.


Image: Pro-Telangana activists damage a passenger bus during a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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The implications of cutting off Telangana are immense

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Capital Hyderabad remains shut with most of the government employees staying away from work, resulting to losses amounting to Rs 200 crore per day.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the loss in the first 15 days of the strike was Rs 10,000 crore. Now with a rail rokho coming up the losses are expected to escalate further.

Some activists are of the opinion that Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrasekara Rao could have done better in this agitation. He has gone to Delhi and done nothing. Instead he should sit in Hyderabad and interact with the protestors.
"Our next line of protest would be to cut Telangana off from the rest of the country. Many states will bear the brunt of such a protest. The people of Telangana too will suffer, but they say that they are ready to bear this brunt," the source said.

The basic idea of this protest in the second phase would be to ensure that people from other states too sit up and take notice.

As of now the losses and the problems have been restricted to Andhra Pradesh alone, but if other states start to get involved in this, then the solution would come sooner.

The implications of cutting off Telangana are immense. The connectivity between Bengaluru and Nagpur will be hit since no transportation would be available on this route since it has to go through Telangana.

Vijayawada, which is also a major business centre, would also get isolated, since the route linking it to Maharashtra goes through Hyderabad, which falls in Telangana region.


Image: Pro-Telangana protesters shout slogans and burn an effigy of ruling Congress party-led government in Hyderabad
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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'People of Telangana will manage with rice and pickle for survival'

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In addition to this there would be a major impact on the export of rice and sugar. Rice production is the highest in Karimnagar district, which falls under Telangana, and if this region is cut off then there cannot be any export of rice.

Similarly sugar too is produced extensively in Nizamabad, again under Telangana and this agitation will affect the export of sugar too. Thanks to this there would be a shortage of rice and sugar in the neighbouring states which rely on Telangana for the same.

However, the people of Andhra will be the most affected. Many from the rest of Andhra Pradesh have business interests especially in Hyderabad, and cutting off all communication would have a direct impact on them.

Their major connectivity is through Hyderabad and the closure of these routes will affect them severely.

The people of Telangana too will bear the brunt of this protest since they depend heavily on other parts for their essential commodities. As of now they claim that they can manage since they will learn to be self-sufficient and will manage with 'rice and pickle in order to survive.'

The pro-Telangana activists say that they have prepared the people for this second leg of the protest and the people are up to the task.


Image: Telangana JAC members prepare food on the road during a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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