Protesters block a road with burning tyres during an agitation against the creation of Telangana at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on October 5. (PTI)
The escalating protests in Andhra Pradesh over Telangana have robbed several Jharkhand parents of their night’s sleep.
They are worried about the safety of their children pursuing high education in various colleges in Visakhapatnam as reports pour in about hostels and lodges plunging into darkness owing to the strike by power employees who are against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
There is the fear of going hungry and thirsty too, as supply of food and water is limited and stocks may run dry any moment.
What’s worse is that the outstation students cannot come home even if they want to as exams are on in several colleges.
This apart, the transport system has been completely crippled. Trains stopped plying from Visakhapatnam station since Monday afternoon in the absence of electricity. The only solace is that there has been no report of any attack on the students till now.
Arvind Kumar Lal, a civil court advocate whose son Archit studies naval architecture at Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam, said: “I received a call from my son this morning. He said there was no power supply for the past three days. Generators too have stopped functioning, as there is no diesel to run it. Water stored in the college will hardly last for two more days, while foodgrains will be exhausted in three days.”
He rued that though he wanted Archit to come back home soon, it was not possible because of the ongoing examinations.
Archit corroborated his father’s version. “City buses are not plying. Those who had booked tickets to go home after exams get over on Friday are worried about making the journey. ATMs are not functioning and hence, many don’t have money to book tickets,” he told The Telegraph over phone.
Asked whether there are any more students from Jharkhand, he said: “Yes, we are nine from Jharkhand and around 50 from Bihar. More than 150 students belong to other states. All are facing similar problems.”
According to Archit, there are also several nursing colleges in Visakhapatnam that are popular with outstation students.
Like Lal, Mamta Sinha, a homemaker, is worried too. Her son Rahul Kumar also studies at Indian Maritime University.
“My son was expected to leave Visakhapatnam on October 11, but I don’t think he will be able to come home due to the poor law and order situation,” said the woman, whose husband is a supervisor at Ranchi Veterinary College in Kanke.
A railway employee posted at Visakhapatnam station, Pankaj Kumar, informed that all trains, including four Jharkhand-bound, had been cancelled since Monday afternoon due to the power crisis. “The station is jam-packed with waiting passengers. It is difficult to say when the situation will become normal,” he added.
With no other solution in sight, many expect the state government to take initiatives to bring back the students from the strife-torn state. However, no effort in this regard has been made yet.
“Till now, no one has told us any thing. Hence, we have not taken any step to bring back the students from Andhra Pradesh,” police spokesperson S.N. Pradhan said.