‘Strike will continue till the government announces bifurcation modalities’

Seemandhra employees in the Secretariat, who have been organising protest programmes for the last 33 days, will go on an indefinite strike from Tuesday to protest against the Congress party’s decision to divide the State.

Over the last one month, the Seemandhra employees had been resorting to lunch-hour rallies and dharnas every day demanding rollback of UPA’s decision and for finding a solution that would address the concerns of all stakeholders.

After the members of APNGOs and other service associations, RTC staff and teachers went on indefinite strike from August 12 and the Secretariat Seemandhra Employees’ Forum served a strike notice to the Chief Secretary on August 22. In their notice, the Forum representatives said that the employees’ service conditions, pension of retired staff, financial status and future of their families would be severely affected if the Centre divided the State and deprived the Seemandhra region of Hyderabad. The State capital has emerged as the main revenue grosser for the State and as the hub of education, employment and healthcare for people of all regions.

Of 2,500 regular employees in the Secretariat, about 1,600 to 1,700 employees were from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. “They are going to the Secretariat everyday at 11 a.m., staging dharna for one hour and are going back,” said U. Muralikrishna, chairman of the Forum.

Though the government invoked ESMA Act and ‘No Work, No Pay’ rule, Mr. Muralikrishna said when their lives were at stake because of the State division, such orders would not deter them. “Our indefinite strike will go on till the government announced modalities for the bifurcation process,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat once again reverberated with slogans by Seemandhra and Telangana employees against and for division of the State. Heavy police bandobust was provided near the ‘L’ Block where both the groups tried to outshout each other.