State Bank of India offers loans up to three months salary for employees if they have salary accounts

About 20,000 people, mostly students, thronged the ‘praja garjana’ programme at Jyothirao Phule statue junction in Chittoor on Saturday, the 52nd day of the ongoing agitation, and reiterated the demand for unified State, under the banner of Samaikhya Rashtra Parirakshana Vedika.

Telugu Desam MP (Chittoor) N. Siva Prasad and Chittoor Congress MLA C.K. Babu, who spearheaded the stir, demanded rollback of the Congress move to create separate Telangana State. They observed that the bifurcation would endanger the interests of the Seemandhra region and jeopardise the future of the students, who would forego their career opportunities in Hyderabad. The MP recalled that he had even whipped himself at Parliament for Samaikhyandra.

Functionaries of the Joint Action Committees (JACs) of students, teachers, NGOs, employees of revenue, Vidyuth, medical and health, several government departments and educational institutions took part in the protest.

The police made elaborate arrangements for the programme, which was expected to draw over one lakh people. Traffic was diverted through the bypass roads. In the morning, it was a virtual blockade of all roads leading to Chittoor town, but for the movement of two-wheelers. The police heaved a sigh of relief with the smooth passage of the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Samaikhyandra JAC organised a 58-km-long human chain between Madanapalle and Piler towns along the highway passing through scores of villages.

Patriotic songs

At all organising points, the participants rendered “Ma Telugu Talliki” State anthem and sang patriotic songs, followed by cultural events while students were dressed in different attires of patriotic figures. Around noon, the event concluded with the rendering of the National Anthem. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on both sides of the 58-km stretch towards Piler and Madanapalle, and the police cleared the traffic in the afternoon.

‘Homam’ performed

Samaikyandhra protagonists performed rituals and ceremonies to mark the completion of 50 days of agitations. JAC members of the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati performed a ‘homam’ at their protest camp. They sought divine intervention to halt the bifurcation process. Meanwhile, Tirumala Tirupati Photographers Association has announced a day-long strike on September 23 near the Nalugu Kalla Mandapam.

Members of the JAC of Private Schools’ Association took out a rally by deploying 40 buses disrupting traffic at several points in the city.

Fishermen’s Association also took out a rally wherein the members protested by spreading the fishing nets on the road at Raj Vihar centre. The employees of APSRTC took out a rally denouncing the role of TRS leaders and Sonia Gandhi in bifurcation of the State.

Mythical roles

The employees, attired as Yamadharma Raja and other mythological characters, awarded punishments to the leaders in the mock court. YSR Congress leaders tucked flowers in their ears saying that the people of the State were reduced to buffoons in the eyes of the Congress. The employees of Agriculture Market Yard staged protest on the road and brought the activity to a halt in the yard.

Employees, students and teachers took out rallies and protest programmes on the GT Road. The Congress leaders led the protest programme which began at the Bara Shahid Dargah on Podalakuru Road to the Gandhi Bomma Centre in which tractors and hydraulic excavators were used.

Congress MLAs Anam Vivekananda Reddy and Mungamuru Sridhar Krishna Reddy inaugurated the rally. They said that the people of Seemandhra were greatly agitated by the thought of the division of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress leaders said that they were confident that the Central government would take appropriate decision that would not harm the interests of the Seemandhra regions.

The relay hunger strike by UTF leaders here in city entered the 27th day. The leaders of the Samaikya JAC organised a protest in which they went round asking for food and money as alms in Buchireddypalem.

Banks’ gesture

Meanwhile, the banks where the employees have their salary accounts are coming forward to offer loans to the striking employees during the protest period. The State Bank of India is offering loans up to three months salary for each employee if they have salary accounts. The Vedayapalem and Fathekhanpeta branches are reportedly handling this offer. For those who have letters from the drawing officers concerned, loans up to Rs. 1 lakh are being provided.