Some Telangana employees end strike, railways to run trains (Roundup)

October 10th, 2011 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Oct 10 (IANS) Cracks appeared on the 28th day of “people’s strike” for a separate Telangana state with a section of employees of the state-run Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APRTC) Monday returning to work.

Toughening its stand, the government decided to run trains during the three-day rail blockade, warning the protestors of serious action.

A few hours after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy warned that any attempt to break law and order would be firmly dealt with, police arrested Telangana leader M. Kodandaram along with some leaders of APRTC employees.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor Kodndaram and some leaders of APRTC employees were arrested at Jubliee Bus Station in Secunderabad when they gathered there, reportedly with the intention to stop buses.

The leaders reached the bus station after one of the unions of APRTC employees announced calling off the strike. They termed it a “conspiracy” by the government to create division among employees and claimed that the strike was continuing.

After talks with Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, leaders of the National Mazdoor Union (NMU) announced that they were calling off the strike in view of the inconvenience caused to the people of the region.

NMU represents a section of about 60,000 APRTC employees in Telangana.

Over 10,000 APRTC buses continued to remain off the roads in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana for the 22nd day Monday. The management is running some services, mainly in Hyderabad, with the help of private drivers.

Following NMU’s decision, the APRTC management declared that the buses would run with police security. They plan to operate 250 buses from Hyderabad Monday night to various destinations in Andhra and Ryalaseema regions of the state and also to Bangalore.

APRTC Managing Director Prasada Rao hoped that all bus services would resume in two to three days and appealed to all employees to return to work.

The strike has so far caused a loss of Rs.150 crore to APRTC.

Earlier, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has warned Telangana protestors of stern action if they disrupt coal production, transport services and educational institutions.

Kodandaram and other JAC leaders were Sunday arrested when they were heading towards mines of the state-owned Singareni Collieries, where employees have been on strike for nearly a month.

The chief minister also appealed to teachers to end the strike in the larger interest of the future of students.

The government Monday invited leaders of teachers’ unions for talks.

Government employees, teachers and workers of Singareni company have been on strike since Sep 13.

The strike by coal workers in Singareni has crippled coal production, affecting electricity supplies in Andhra Pradesh and some neighboring states.

Tension prevailed at a private college in Hyderabad as Telangana activists attacked it, demanding its closure, while the parents of students staged a protest asking the management to keep it open.

Protestors pelted stones at the NRI College in Kukatpally, damaging its window panes. They were demanding that the management shut the college in view of the ongoing general strike in Telangana.

Earlier, parents of students staged protests outside the college, demanding that the management run classes. They voiced concern over the future of their children who have already lost classes for a month.

Utter confusion prevailed Monday among students over whether schools and colleges would open after Dussehra holidays. A large number of students were seen returning from schools as the managements decided not to run the classes in view of JAC’s call to all educational institutions to remain closed.

All government-run educational institutions in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana also remained closed as over 120,000 teachers continued the strike seeking a separate state.

The educational institutions are closed in the region for nearly a month as teachers have joined hands with other government employees in the strike.

Meanwhile, ignoring the “rail blockade” called by JAC for Oct 12-14, the railways Monday decided to operate all trains in Telangana with police security and warned the protesters of strict action if they obstruct train traffic or damage railway property.

Unlike in the previous phases of Telangana agitation when the railways cancelled all trains as a precautionary measure, it has decided not to suspend any service this time.

With Andhra Pradesh government assuring full security, South Central Railway (SCR) decided to run all the trains as scheduled in Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.

Railway and state police authorities Monday served a stern warning to protesters against disrupting rail traffic and damaging railway property, saying they could even face life imprisonment.

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