Telangana shutdown paralyses life (Lead)

February 22nd, 2011 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Feb 22 (IANS) Normal life was hit in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh Tuesday as a 48-hour shutdown to demand a bill in parliament for the formation of a separate Telangana state evoked a near-total response.Barring minor incidents, the shutdown remained peaceful in the region, which comprises 10 districts including Telangana.

Transport services in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the Telangana region were paralysed while shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed.

Buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) could not come out of the depots since early Tuesday as the RTC employees too joined the strike in many places.

The shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) evoked a near total response in almost all the towns across the region as people voluntarily shut down businesses and joined the protests.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other pro-Telangana parties and groups are participating in the strike while the Communist Party of India (CPI) is backing it.

TRS activists took out rallies in different parts of Medak, Nizamabad, Warangal and Karimnagar districts to force the closure of shops.

Police arrested TRS legislator Harish Rao in Secunderabad when he was leading a motorcycle rally.

JAC convenor M. Kodandaram was also taken into custody by police at Tarnaka near Osmania University, which remained tense for the second consecutive day amid protests by students.

Police used teargas shells to disperse students, who took out a rally demanding release of Kodandaram and Harish Rao.

Sporadic incidents of stone pelting on vehicles and shops were reported from different parts of the region.

In Hyderabad, which was rocked by violence during the Telangana students’ protests Monday, the shutdown call evoked partial response. While the RTC suspended all its services to different parts of Telangana and also to Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, it operated buses in the city.

Educational institutions in the state capital declared a holiday as a precautionary measure. Shops, business establishments, banks, petrol bunks and cinema theatres were closed in some areas while the shutdown had little impact in other areas.

The Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, one of the biggest in Asia, lacked the usual buzz as 3,500 buses from different parts of Telangana and other regions were stopped. The situation was similar at the Jubilee Bus Station in Secunderabad.

However, the shutdown had little impact on Cyberabad, the IT district housing multinational and national IT giants.

RTC employees at many places in the region locked bus depots and were seen participating in protests.

The roads around the state assembly building were also deserted as for the second consecutive day police imposed restrictions on the movement of vehicles.

The movement of vehicles on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway was badly hit as protestors squatted on roads, cooked food, played games and participated in cultural activities.

The protest also affected work in government offices as over 300,000 employees in the region were already participating in a non-cooperation movement for a week demanding a separate state.

Coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries Company came to a halt as about 70,000 employees joined the Telangana strike. Work in coal mines spread over four districts of Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar and Warangal was also affected.

The shutdown has affected production of 1.8 lakh tonnes of coal worth Rs.28 crore.

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