Normal life in the city was paralysed on Tuesday as bandh was observed in response to the call given by various Samaikyandhra groups. Barring stray incidents of breaking of glass panes of some shops and windscreens of trucks, the bandh was peaceful.
Almost all the main roads, including the National Highway, which passes through the city, wore a deserted look as youths placed logs across the highway at various junctions and burnt tyres to stop the movement of vehicles. Many of the traders downed their shutters voluntarily, while those who opened were forced to close down by Samaikhyandhra activists, who went on motorcycles and enforced the bandh.
RTC buses were off the road as both the trade unions – Employees Union and National Mazdoor Union – announced their decision to observe bandh in support of Samaikhyandhra. “All the 1046 buses in the region were confined to the depots as drivers and conductors participated in the bandh. The loss suffered by the RTC in the district due to the bandh is estimated at Rs.75 lakh,” Regional Manager Y. Jagadeesh Babu said.
The Dwaraka Bus Station (RTC Complex), the bus complex at Simhachalam and the other complexes wore a deserted look in the absence of passengers. RTC buses may be confined to the depots on Wednesday also as the unions have called for an indefinite strike till the Central government reverses its decision on division of the State.
It was an ‘undeclared holiday’ for government offices as the employees took it easy in the absence of the public. Banks were also forced to down their shutters by the Samaikhyandhra activists. A tense situation prevailed for sometime on the Marripalem Main Road on Tuesday evening as some youths burnt tyres and prevented vehicular movement. There was power disruption, suspected to have been done by Samaikhyandhra activists, and the area went into complete darkness. Barring medical shops and doctor’s clinics all other shops were closed at Marripalem.
Petrol bunks closed
Petrol bunks were observing a 24-hour bandh from Monday midnight in support of Samaikhyandhra.
Thankfully, most schools declared a holiday in advance. While some of the school managements decided to shut their schools on Wednesday also, others have adopted a ‘wait and watch’ attitude. The students were asked to find out from the school on Wednesday morning.
The non-political joint action committee (JAC) representatives met the JACs of GVMC, APEPDCL/TRANSCO and RTC employees who have been on indefinite strike against the division. The members extended their support to the agitating lawyers, who are on hunger strike. Professors K Ravi, Chandu Subba Rao, Surappadu and D.V.R Murthy, Dr. Ragava Rao, Vishnu Kumar Raju, K Adibabu, O. Naresh Kumar, P.L.K. Murthy, K.S.N. Murthy, Lata Das and Syamala were among those who participated in the campaign.
Doctors staged a dharna opposite the KGH gate for about an hour on Tuesday also. AP Government Doctor’s Association State secretary (Andhra region) Pidakala Shyam Sundar described the agitation as a “people’s movement” and underlined the need for all sections to unite against the division of the State.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy appealed to the Samaikyandhra activists not to foil the Independence Day celebrations in any manner. Nursing staff of the government hospitals have been conducting dharna every day demanding the government to roll back its decision to bifurcate the State, State president of AP Government Nurses Association B. Bhagyalakshmi said.
Employees of the Information and Public Relations Department expressed their solidarity with the Samaikyandhra agitation by planting a ‘Samikyandhra sapling’ on the premises of the Samachara Bhavan here on Tuesday.