Holiday for schools, colleges; buses confined to depots; all shops closed

The normal life got paralysed in Central Coastal Andhra Pradesh owing to the indefinite strike call given by Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) and the APSRTC employees from the early hours of Tuesday.

The APNGOs took out a rally from PWD grounds and went on a Government Offices closing spree from 10.30 a.m. in Vijayawada and none of the government offices opened on Tuesday.

This turned out to be a virtual bandh call, as all RTC and private buses were confined to depots, and shops and establishments were completely closed. Banks did not function; restaurants and even small kiosks downed their shutters in support of Samaikyandhra. Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in the Industrial Estate, remained closed.

Schools and some colleges declared a holiday on Tuesday. The busy Bandar and Eluru Road, which otherwise bustle with activities and shoppers wore a deserted look at 11 a.m. Members of different joint action committees (JAC) took out rallies in protest against the CWC’s decision to bifurcate the State with security forces keeping vigil.

Private vehicles were allowed to run and autorickshaws plied only in some pockets, the transport system was virtually paralysed with the State-owned APSRTC employees joining the strike. The RTC employees played kabaddi on the Pandit Nehru Bus Station here. “APSRTC employees joined the strike and our college management declared a holiday,” said Ch. Avinash, a second-year B.Tech. student. Samaikyandhra Student JAC led by Devineni Avinash took out a massive rally from Benz Circle and later in the day took out a bike rally.

A senior citizen who was waiting for a public transport system at Benz Circle to go to his daughter’s house at Gandhinagar, remarked, “It is good that people are protesting against the bifurcation of the State and that’s expected of concerned citizens. But, what I see is that the agitation of ‘Samaikyandhra’ lacks ‘Samaikyam’ (unity). For the last one hour, I have seen at least six JACs taking out rallies comprising 150 to 200 members, can’t they join together to form one big impactful group, the way TRS does?”

Visakhapatnam Special Correspondent adds: The Visakhapatnam city was totally locked down on Tuesday in response to calls given by various organisations opposing Congress Working Committee decision to bifurcate the state.

Educational institutions, shops and establishments, private transport operators too voluntarily shut down in response to the Samaikyandhra call given by various organisations. The kirana shops and other small shops in the bylanes too were closed.

Activists stopped traffic on most roads not allowing even two-wheelers to pass by. Old tyres were burnt at many places, mostly on main thoroughfares. Even on the National Highway the residents came out and stopped the traffic for some time. There were minor incidents of stone throwing in Maddilapalem area. A lorry too was reportedly stoned, however not much damage was reported.

RTC buses did not ply. The petrol, diesel dealers had closed their outlets for one day. The Vizagpatnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry had called on its members to shut down on Tuesday. Attendance at the IT units in the SEZ at Duvvada and Rushikonda was also low and the work suffered there, according to industry associations. However, the major PSUs like the Steel Plant, HPCL, HSL, BHPV and others worked albeit with a few workers not turning up as there was no public transport.

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