Hyderabad, Oct. 17: The 66-day strike by six lakh state government employees from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema was today lifted following talks with chief minister Kirankumar Reddy, who reportedly assured them that the draft bill for the creation of Telangana would not be passed in the Assembly.
The employees of more than 45 departments had begun the strike from the midnight of August 12 following a Congress Working Committee declaration on bifurcation of the state for the creation of Telangana on July 31.
Announcing the suspension of the agitation, the Andhra Pradesh Non Gazetted Officers’ president Ashok Babu said Reddy has assured that all MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra would oppose the formation of Telangana tooth and nail. The APNGO had been spearheading the strike.
“We have decided to withdraw our agitation till the day the Assembly takes up the Telangana draft bill. If the politicians fail to stop (passing) that, then we will go on flash strike again,” he said.
Babu today urged government employees of 13 districts of Seemandhra and those in Hyderabad to join duties from today midnight after informing them about Reddy’s assurance. “However, the CM said that he is not in a position to give any assurance on reverting the decision on state bifurcation as the decision was taken by the Union cabinet.” Babu explained.
After the meeting between the APNGO and Reddy at his secretariat today, an employee at Vijayawada district collectorate, Shaija Mudigonda, said: “We are all middle class people; we cannot continue the strike.”
Earlier during the day, gazetted officers from Seemandhra and panchayat employees withdrew their strike.
Appreciating the move, state finance minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy said the Seemandhra legislators would be on guard on behalf of the employees to ensure that the bifurcation bill is not passed in the Assembly.
On October 10, the Seemandhra Electricity Joint Action Committee withdrew their five-day long strike that almost brought the southern grid to collapse. Buses of the state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, which was also on strike, hit the roads in the Seemandhra region on October 12 after nearly two months.