Normal life remains unaffected in most urban centres

The bandh call given by the major Opposition parties in the State on Tuesday in protest against the hike in power tariff evoked a mixed response.

While the bandh received a lukewarm response in the Twin Cities, it was partial in some districts like Ranga Reddy and total in a few districts including Nizamabad, Medak and Srikakulam. Normal life remained unaffected as shops and establishments were open for a major part of the day in most urban centres, but managements of educational institutions declared a holiday to avoid inconvenience to students as a majority of the RTC buses remained off the roads.

Rasta rokos

Long-distance travellers, however, suffered due to traffic jams as the agitated activists of political parties staged ‘rasta rokos’ on the national highways as well as demonstrations in front of RTC depots across the State.

Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge at LB Nagar on the city outskirts as the activists blocked the movement of vehicles besides damaging RTC buses.

Trouble began in the early hours as the Left parties’ leaders including CPI (M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu and his CPI counterpart K. Narayana staged a demonstration in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station around 6 a.m. and obstructed the district-bound buses. Even as the police took the agitating leaders into custody, Mr. Raghavulu and Dr. Narayana asserted that the agitation would continue till the government rolled back the hike.

Activists and leaders of the BJP including senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu and the party’s State president G. Kishan Reddy were arrested when they attempted to take out a rally to the Secretariat. Mr. Venkaiah Naidu criticised the government for lacking foresight in anticipating the power shortage and taking necessary remedial measures.

Leaders and activists of Telugu Mahila, the women’s wing of the TDP, tried to gatecrash into the Ministers’ quarters here.

The women activists jostled with the police who were posted in good number at the quarters and some activists suffered minor bruises in the melee.

They were arrested and shifted from the venue.

Roll back sought

Members of Telangana Political Joint Action Committee led by its chairman M. Kodandaram staged a dharna at Gun Park in protest against the tariff hike.

YSR Congress leaders and MLAs who staged dharnas in front of electricity sub-stations in Anantapur, Vijayawada and other places announced their resolve to continue the agitation till the government rolled back the tariff hike.

Some activists damaged computers, furniture and equipment at the APTransco superintendent engineer’s office in Srikakulam as the employees refused to participate in the strike.