Telangana protest threatens to paralyse administrationBy IANS
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
HYDERABAD - The administration in Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region may come to a standstill from Thursday as the struggle for a separate Telangana state enters a crucial phase with the launch of a non-cooperation movement.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other groups fighting for separate state, has called for the non-cooperation movement to demand a bill in the parliament’s budget session beginning Feb 21.
Government employees, teachers, doctors, lawyers and students have already announced their participation in the movement to mount pressure on the government. The employees have rejected the state government’s appeal to stay away from the agitation and said they would not be deterred by use of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
With employees of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) also joining in, there are apprehensions that even the basis civic services will be paralysed.
Transport services in the region comprising Hyderabad and nine other districts may also come to a standstill with the employees of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) backing the movement.
The electricity supply is likely to be affected if the Telangana employees of transmission companies join the protest. The government is already worried over the possible impact of the movement on health services with a section of employees of health department gearing up to participate in the movement.
JAC has already appealed people not to buy tickets while travelling in state-owned APSRTC buses and not to pay taxes and utility charges.
Questioning the legitimacy of the government, JAC convenor M. Kodandaram claimed that it does not represent the interests of people of Telangana and hence the non-cooperation movement.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) Tuesday decided to support the non-cooperation movement. “I appeal to all sections of people to actively participate in it,” said CPI state secretary K. Narayana.
Leaders of the ruling Congress party favouring a separate state have also declared their support to the movement. The Telangana TDP Forum, which represents Telangana leaders of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), is also backing the movement.
A group of Congress legislators have been camping in New Delhi for the last two days to convince the central leadership to agree to the demand for tabling the Telangana bill in parliament.
The non-cooperation movement has already begun in some districts of Telangana with people travelling RTC buses without tickets.
As a prelude to the movement, JAC staged protests in different parts of Telangana on Tuesday. During one such protest at Bellampally in Adilabad district, a protestor attempted self-immolation. He was admitted to a local hospital, where his condition is stated to be critical.
Though Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy warned ministers from Telangana against supporting the non-cooperation movement, a senior minister from the region Tuesday said protest was the employees’ right. IT Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, however, said the protestors should ensure that people were not put to inconvenience.
As the non-cooperation movement is coinciding with the budget session of state legislature, the government is worried over not just the political impact of the movement but also the required administrative support to smoothly run the session.
Minister for Legislative Affairs D. Sridhar Babu appealed to employees of the legislature to cooperate with the government as the budget was crucial for the entire state.