Hyderabad/New Delhi, Oct. 10: The threat of cyclone has achieved what negotiations couldn’t.
Power employees in Seemandhra, on strike since Sunday to protest the Centre’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh, today announced a “temporary” break in their agitation as the storm Phailin intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” expected to hit the coastal areas by Saturday.
The decision came on a day Union home minister Sushil Shinde said he did not see any possibility of Delhi going back on its decision to carve out a Telangana state.
In Hyderabad, the joint action committee (JAC) of the power employees said it was suspending its agitation so that people were not put through further hardship. The strike, by some 45,000 regular and contract employees, had blacked out vast swathes in Seemandhra, which accounts for 13 of Andhra’s 23 districts, affecting homes, hospital services, train schedules and offices.
“We have not called off our strike completely. It’s only temporary in view of the cyclone threat,” JAC leader Saibabu told reporters after a meeting with chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. “We will continue our protests in other forms.”
The temporary relief came amid weather bulletins that said the storm lay centred 950km off Visakhapatnam and would intensify over the next 12 hours before making landfall by October 12 evening with rain and gale winds of up to 185kmph.
The JAC, which held three rounds of talks with Reddy, resolved to resume emergency services immediately and regularise generation and distribution at all the key 21 supply junctions from 6am tomorrow.
The chief minister also met leaders of the APNGO, a federation of government employees whose general strike entered its 70th day. Reddy assured them that Congress leaders from Seemandhra were committed to defeating any resolution on Telangana in the Assembly.
In Delhi, Shinde said the government was firm on creating Telangana. “I don’t think there is any possibility of going back on the Telangana decision,” the home minister said. The group of ministers on Telangana will meet tomorrow.
Shinde did not rule out President’s rule. “That I cannot say now,” he said, asked if central rule would be imposed.
YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy, who was shifted to a Hyderabad hospital following his hunger strike against the planned bifurcation, was “forcibly administered IV fluids”, a doctor at the state-run NIMS said.
The Andhra government has moved Delhi High Court against TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s hunger strike in the capital, saying it is illegal as Delhi Assembly election dates have been announced.