Road blockades paralyse inter-State traffic in the region: Tirumala pilgrims walk all the way with luggage from railway station

Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema bandh called by the Save United AP Forum against the decision to bifurcate the State on Tuesday was total and peaceful.

Though the Forum gave a specific call for roads and highways bandh on September 24 as part of week-long agitational programme to intensify the Samaikhyandhra movement, it turned out to be a general bandh with voluntary closure of educational and business establishments and petrol bunks.

Blockade of main roads, highways, rasta-rokos, motor cycle rallies, human chains and padayatras marked the day in all the 13 Seemandhra districts while the main thoroughfares in cities and towns wore a deserted look with the commercial and business establishments and schools and colleges remaining closed as people participated in the bandh voluntarily.

The integrationists blocked all the roads and prevented movement of vehicular traffic paralysing the entire inter-State traffic in the region. Life in the temple town of Tirupati came to a standstill due to the transport bandh while in some areas, anti-social elements indulged in unruly behaviour of deflating tyres of several vehicles. As buses to Tirumala were not allowed to ply, pilgrims were subjected to severe inconvenience and had to walk all the way with their luggage from the railway station to the Garuda circle near Alipiri.

Voluntary participation

People observed bandh voluntarily in Rajahmundry, Kakinada, Peddapuram, Amalapuram, Ravulapalem in East Godavari district.

In Kadapa, medicos of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences picketed the residence of Minister for Minority Welfare Mohd. Ahmadullah demanding his resignation from the Cabinet even as the Minister expressed his solidarity to the movement. About 4,000 IIIT students took out a padayatra from Idupulapaya to Ganditheertham.

In Visakhapantam and Vizianagaram districts, the bandh was total while petrol bunks too did not function in Srikakulam district. A mega human chain was formed by integrationists in Anantapur.

Speaking to media persons here, Forum Chairman P. Ashok Babu said that the transport bandh evoked good response and the inter-state traffic was halted in Srikakulam and Nellore and in Chittoor and Anantapur.

Stir to be intensified

Asserting that the agitation would be intensified further after September 30 till the Congress led UPA Government reconsidered its decision on State bifurcation, he said a formal decision would be taken in the review meeting , he said.

Though the employees were agitating for close to two months, there was no let up in the movement, he said.

“We went on strike for 108 days in1972 and it is easier to sustain the movement for longer period now for several employees’ associations,” he said.