Telangana comes to a halt as all train services cancelled

September 24th, 2011 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Sep 24 (IANS) With all trains cancelled, auto-rickshaws off the road, and the state Road Transport Corporation buses already standing idle, Telangana region came to a standstill Saturday.

Adding to the people’s difficulties, particularly of those passing through the state, all trains were cancelled by railway authorities in view of the two-day “rail blockade” called by those agitating for a separate Telangana state.

All the trains between Hyderabad and destinations like like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Patna, Rajkot and Balharshah have been cancelled.

The absence of all public transport created an unprecedented situation and added to the woes of people already reeling under the general strike which continued for the 12th day. It has paralysed administration, transport services, and education.

The usually busy roads in Hyderabad and other towns of Telagngana wore a deserted look as three-wheelers also joined the strike Saturday.

The widespread agitation has already hit coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries, throwing out of gear the generation and supply of electricity and severely affecting the business and industry.

In Hyderabad, many petrol bunks and liquor shops downed shutters Saturday in response to a call given by Osmania University students’ Joint Action Committee.

Over 10,000 RTC buses remained off the roads in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region for the sixth day.

Over 500,000 auto-rickshaws across the region also joined the “people’s strike”. Over 60,000 three-wheelers went off the road in Hyderabad.

As a precautionary measure, the South Central Railway (SCR) cancelled over 72 Express and 264 passenger trains originating from or coming to Telangana or passing through the region for saturday and Sunday.

“In view of some incidents that took place during similar protests earlier, we are not operating train services this time,” said SCR chief public relations officer K. Sambasiva Rao.

Leaders and activists of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) squatted on railway tracks at hundreds of places across the region.

Leaders of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist New Democracy squatted on the track at Kazipet in Warangal district, the main junction connecting south and north India.

The railways have also cancelled all 222 Multi-Modal Transport System services or local trains in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and 102 DHMU (Diesel Hydraulic Multiple Unit) trains in other parts of Telangana.

The SCR authorities have also short terminated, diverted and rescheduled many long-distance trains in the north-south and east-west corridors. The rail link between Hyderabad and rest of Telangana and also between the state capital and other regions of Andhra Pradesh has completely snapped.

Hundreds of policemen, personnel of railway police and central paramilitary forces were deployed at stations to protect railway property.

Secunderabad and Nampally (Hyderabad) railway stations - two of the busiest railway stations in south India - wore a deserted look.

All the trains were cancelled from Friday midnight while some long-distance trains coming to Hyderabad were stopped earlier in the day.

Though not a single train is being operated, the protestors squatted on the tracks, cooked and dined and also participated in games and cultural programmes.

Leading the protest at Moula Ali on the outskirts of Hyderabad, JAC convenor M. Kodandaram termed the “rail blockade” a huge success and said it should be an eye-opener to those sitting in Delhi and claiming that the strike is not having any impact.

Over 800,000 employees of the government, teachers, workers of RTC, Singareni Collieries, electricity department were participating in the strike. Lawyers are boycotting the courts while doctors in government-run hospitals are attending only emergency services.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has criticized Telangana groups for causing hardships to people through the strike. He said it was for the central government to take a decision on Telangana issue.

The JAC leaders argue that they want to pressurize the central and state governments to accept the demand for a Telangana state by hitting hard at the economy and claim that every section of people is participating in the strike.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislator K. Taraka Rama Rao told reporters Saturday that if the central government failed to take a favourable decision this month, they would lay siege to Hyderabad next month. “The march to Hyderabad will be much larger than the protests the world has seen in countries like Egypt and Libya,” he said.

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