Telangana Row: Intense strikes cripple life in Seemandhra – Railway services hit

Thousand of train passengers were stranded at various stations in various railway stations at Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Rajahmundry, Nellore, Ongole, Chirala, Tenali, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tuni, Machilipatnam, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Guntakal, Anantapur, Tirupati and various other stations, and bordering cities/towns in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka as  well as the movement of trains to and from Andhra came to a halt as Electricity supply was snapped due to employees and engineers of APGENCO, EPCPDCL, SPCPDCL and APTRANSCO are on continued strike since last  three days.
OngoleRailway passengers in the restive Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh are bearing the brunt of ongoing strike by employees of state power corporations with many trains are either being partially cancelled or rescheduled.

The South Central Railway (SCR) on Monday partially cancelled services of passengers trains running on Rajahmundry-Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam routes in the wake of the strike by employees of Andhra Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation.

Employees of all three wings viz generation, transmission and distribution are on strike in protest against Centre’s decision to carve out separate Telangana state.

While Rajahmundry-Visakhapatnam passenger train which left at 11:15 hrs was partially cancelled between Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam stations, a passenger train running between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam station was partially terminated between Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam, according to a SCR spokesperson.

The Tirumala and Konark expresses were stopped at Tuni and some services are running behind the schedule, he said.

Meanwhile, the South Central Railway has set up a helpline at major stations like Vijayawada, Nellore, Ongole and Rajahmundry to update passengers about the schedule.

Anticipating power disruptions in coming days due to strike, the SCR is keeping various options open, including hauling important express trains with diesel locos.

Locomotives are kept on standby along Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta section.

“Another measures the SCR has planned to roll out in case of emergency situation are suitable diversions of long-distance trains via convenient alternate routes, shutting down goods trains and cancellation/partial cancellation of short-distance passenger trains to facilitate movement of express trains,” the spokesperson said.

No Power Supply to Villages/Towns/Districts in entire Seemandhra

Millions across 13 districts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are facing the worst blackout in years as power employees continued to be on strike to protest the bifurcation Andhra Pradesh and create a separate Telangana state.

Employees of the state power generation, transmission and distribution companies began an indefinite strike on Sunday, as most parts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema remained without power while several trains were cancelled.

The talks between Seemandhra electricity employees’ Joint Action Committee and officials of of Andhra Pradesh Transmission Corporation and Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation failed as the employees refused to end the strike unless the central government gives an assurance that the state will not be divided.

Dozens of towns and hundreds of villages were without electricity as generation and transmission came to a standstill due to the strike in all 13 districts of Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are together known.

With no exemption to emergency services, patients in hospitals faced severe hardships while drinking water supply was affected in many areas. Internet service was hit. Even ATMs and mobile phones collapsed in some areas.

Visakhapatnam Airport ran on back-up power. In Hyderabad, authorities imposed power cuts for two to three hours.

Hundreds of train passengers were stranded at various stations in Srikakulam district bordering Odisha as the movement of trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam went haywire.

For the second day, railways cancelled several trains in Vijayawada, Guduru and other sections. Vijayawada, one of the biggest transit hubs in south India, was the worst hit. Some trains ran with diesel engines.

The situation remained tense in Vizianagaram town of north coastal Andhra as an indefinite curfew continued for the third day Monday. Police said curfew would be relaxed for one hour Tuesday morning.

The town was rocked by violence Friday and Saturday when protestors targeted the residences and other properties of state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and his relatives.

The situation turned worse on Monday with employees of Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited joining the strike, hitting the power supply to Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

Hundreds of train passengers were stranded at various stations in Srikakulam district bordering Odisha as the movement of trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam and other destinations in Andhra came to a halt as electricity supply was snapped.

Officials said trains were running four hours late as only one track is being used.

For the second day, railways cancelled several trains in Vijayawada, Guduru and other sections. Vijayawada, one of the biggest transit hubs in south India, was the worst hit. Some trains are being run with diesel engines.

More than 4,500 MW of electricity generation has affected due to the strike by 30,000 employees.

Generation has come to a complete halt at Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS) at Vijayawada, Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station (RTPS) at Kadapa and Srisailam Hydel Power Station at Srisailam.

Meanwhile in New Delhi, four central ministers from Seemandhra met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to accept the resignations they gave after the cabinet decided to carve out a Telangana state.

Manmohan Singh sought more time to decide after meeting cabinet minister Pallam Raju and ministers of state K. Chiranjeevi, D. Purandeswari and K. Suryaprakash Reddy.

Purandeswari said they told Manmohan Singh they would not attend offices from Tuesday to respect the feeling of the people of Seemandhra, which covers Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions.

“We stand by our demand for a united state. But this doesn’t mean we are defying the party,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who too opposes the state’s division, told some television channels that he doesn’t rule out stepping down.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured the people of Seemandhra that their concerns would be addressed. But this had few takers.

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