Normal life crippled in 13 districts; late in the day, strike relaxed to allow resumption of train services
A power shutdown on Sunday crippled normal life in 13 districts of the Seemandhra region as the Power Employees’ Joint Action Committee called an indefinite strike since morning to protest against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The shutdown led to the closure of ATMs, petrol pump stations and cable operator services besides cancellation of several trains.
The strike by 7,500 employees also led to tripping of two major thermal power plants of the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation resulting in a loss of about 2,500 MW. The State needs about 9,000 MW and the bare minimum generation required for the grid’s stability is 5,500 MW.
Dr. Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Plant near Vijayawada suffered the tripping of six units of 210 MW (installed capacity 1,760 MW) and the sole 500 MW unit was producing less than 300 MW. The strike has put paid to any repair work so far. At the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant in Kadapa, all the five units have stopped functioning, stalling supply of 1,050 MW. State capital Hyderabad too was impacted with unscheduled power cuts due to load shedding. South Central Railway was forced to cancel six express and 25 passenger trains and halt goods trains. In the temple town of Tirupati, pilgrims suffered as there was no power supply till 7 p.m. Power supply in Seemandhra is only going to worsen as the 880 employees of Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Limited (EPDCL) decided to join the indefinite strike from Monday. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy held a review meeting in Hyderabad with senior officials and appealed to the employees to resume their duties immediately. However, Andhra Pradesh Non-gazetted Officers’ Association president Ashok Babu rejected his appeal and said the strike would continue at least till October 20.
Late on Sunday evening, the joint action committee relaxed the shutdown for running trains in six districts.
Anger against Botcha
B. Madhugopal adds from Vizianagaram: The pent-up anger among the people of the fort town against PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana and the police was evident on Saturday as bands of youths targeted his properties. As violence continued, curfew was clamped in the town from 6 a.m. Shops were closed and people remained confined to their homes.