Four lakh Seemandhra employees begin indefinite strike

Hyderabad, Aug 13 (IANS) Normal life came to a grinding halt in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions of Andhra Pradesh as over four lakh government employees began an indefinite strike to demand the centre to take back its decision to carve out a separate Telangana state.

Road transport was paralysed since midnight as more than 12,000 buses went off the roads. Employees of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) took part in the strike.

Shutdown continued in Seemandhra, as the two regions are collectively known, for the last two weeks.

Employees and workers of all government departments have joined the strike.

The Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGO) Association, which called for the strike, has exempted emergency services in health, municipal administration and electricity departments.

Seemandhra employees working in state secretariat and government offices in Hyderabad too are participating in the strike.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in all 13 districts of Seemandhra.

Petrol bunks in Seemandhra also began a 24-hour-long shutdown from midnight. The owners of petrol tankers have also joined the protest.

Lawyers have also decided to boycott courts to demand the centre not to go ahead with the bifurcation of the state.

Protests and shutdowns have been continuing in Seemandhra since July 30, when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolved to carve out a Telangana state.

The APNGO began the strike after all central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators from Seemandhra did not resign as demanded by it to mount pressure on the centre.