Andhra bandh updates: bus services resume, schools shut

Scenes from the AP State bandh in Vijayawada   | Photo Credit: Ch Vijaya Bhaskar

A bandh call given by Left parties and supported by the Opposition YSR Congress Party evoked an effective response from people from all walks of life in Vijayawada on Thursday morning. The bandh is in protest against the alleged injustice meted out to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget despite the BJP led NDA Government's promise to address all issues related to the implementation the AP Reorganisation Act.

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Leaders and activists of the CPI(M), the CPI, the YSRCP and the Congress and hit the streets early in the morning and staged protests at the Pundit Nehru Bus Station hindering the city and inter-district services of the APSRTC. 

While the YSRCP activists demanded that the Union government immediately announce a special package to the State, members of Left parties raised slogans against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ''failing to keep the promises'' made to the State.  Activists belonging to actor Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena party also joined in the protests.

RTC officials cancelled city services in the morning. City schools have announced a holiday and majority of them remained closed. Private establishments on M.G. Road, Eluru Road, One-Town and others remained closed.

Dharna in support of TDP agitation 

Extending support to the ruling Telugu Desam Party MPs protesting in Parliament for the past three days, activists began dharna at the Dharna Chowk at Alankar Centre in Vijayawada.

TDP leaders stage a protest in Vijayawada on Thursday

TDP leaders stage a protest in Vijayawada on Thursday   | Photo Credit: Ch Vijaya Bhaskar

 

Led by the city unit leaders, the party members raised slogans demanding that the Centre immediately announce funds due to the State and save it from crisis.

3.30 p.m.

Transport services resumed on Andhra-Telangana State border

Machilipatnam: Transport services on the Andhra Pradesh – Telangana border have been resumed, promising a safe journey for those who travel on the border from long destinations during the bandh. Nuzvid Division police led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr. Srinivasa Rao on Thursday swung into action to ensure the safe travelling of the passengers who were supposed to cross the Andhra-Telangana border. Kalluru mandal in Khammam district in Telangana shares the border with Tiruvuru mandal in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. “The protesters and police have voluntarily decided not to disturb any traveller who plans to cross the State border during the one-day bandh, which was peaceful. The heavy and tourist vehicles are being allowed to cross the State border since afternoon, resuming transportation services”, Mr. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu.

Cut off from the mainland: The people of the Island of Diviseema comprising three mandals – Koduru, Avanigadda and Nagayalanka – in Krishna district have been forced to be bound to their island as all means of transportation came to a grinding halt since Thursday morning. The AP Road Transportation Corporation had to stop plying buses during the bandh while auto-rickshaws owners’ associations joined the bandh by stopping their services.

3.00 pm

A round-up

Andhra Pradesh Bureau reports: Protests by all political parties, including the ruling Telugu Desam, and angry demonstrations marked the State bandh called by Left parties and supported by YSR Congress (YSRC) and Congress to mount pressure on the Central government to implement the A.P. Reorganization Act in letter and spirit. 

Normal life was badly hit as the APSRTC buses were confined to the depots and security forces were deployed in large numbers throughout the State but there were no untoward incidents. 

CPI (M), CPI and YSRC cadres staged a dharna outside the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada bringing the bus services to a grinding halt.  YSRC President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy suspended his Padayatra as a mark of solidarity with other parties and organizations fighting for the cause of A.P. 

Activists of actor, Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party too participated in the protests at various places, notably at Maddilapalem bus depot in Visakhapatnam and in Vijayawada. At Eluru in West Godavari district and Rajahmundry, the JSP cadres ate grass as a novel protest against the negligence of the legitimate demands of A.P.  Congress leaders joined the agitation in Vijayawada. All educational institutions and business establishments were shut as the protesters went through cities and towns enforcing the bandh.  Ministers and TDP MLAs squatted on the roads in districts and Penamaluru MLA Bode Prasad went to the extent of getting his head tonsured in Vijayawada to drive home the message that the alleged injustice to A.P. can no longer be tolerated. 

Thousands of protesters were detained as they breached police cordons at various places.  YSRC leaders Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and MLA R.K. Roja led the protests in Tirupati. The bandh had little impact on the rush of pilgrims at Tirumala. It was by and large peaceful across the State as protestors refrained from any physical attack so far. 

2.00 pm

Collectorate, defence establishment down shutters in Masula

Machilipatnam: Complete bandh was observed across the Eastern Krishna including district headquarters of Machilipatnam. Law Minister K. Ravindra accompanied by TDP State Secretary K. Bullaiah led the bandh in prime locations of Machilpatnam town while another group led by YSRC party leader Perni Nani took out a mass bike rally across the tow. The left parties also joined, ensuring complete shutdown of the Bharat Electronics Limited’s unit here, apart from disrupting transportation services.

The government staff who tried to attend the duty at the collectorate were asked to down the shutters of their offices. The roads were blocked and the restaurants and Rythu Bazaars across the Eastern Krishna district remained shut since morning.

Law Minister K. Ravindra staging protest against budget allocations for Andhra Pradesh at Machilipatnam in Krishna district.

Law Minister K. Ravindra staging protest against budget allocations for Andhra Pradesh at Machilipatnam in Krishna district.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a demonstration in front of Machilipatnam bus terminus, Law Minister K. Ravindra expressed his anguish that the people of Andhra Pradesh had to wait for timely support from the Central government for four years for speeding up various projects including construction of the capital city of Amaravati. He added that the Narendra Modi-led government did not bother about progress of the State.

The bandh was observed peacefully amid huge deployment of police across the district.

1.15 pm

Govt. appeals to Andhra MPs to withdraw protests in Lok Sabha

The government appealed to the MPs from Andhra Pradesh to withdraw their protest in Lok Sabha for central assistance to the state, saying Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address their concerns while replying to the debate on the Budget.

“I request all MPs from Andhra Pradesh to go back to their seats and facilitate the debate because the finance minister has assured that he will address their concerns when he will give reply to the debate on Budget,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.

However, the unrelenting lawmakers from the southern state did not budge and continued their protests, shouting slogans in the Well.

1.00 pm

Rajya Sabha adjourned again

In a bid to end the stand-off on Andhra Pradesh package, MoS Chowdhury suggests the Finance Minister will address the issue during the reply.

 

Andhra Pradesh member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao says the government should adhere to the assurance it has given.

YSRCP member Vijaisai Reddy says the TDP, which is an ally, had approved the President's address. How can a minister differ from it now, he asks.

Andhra Pradesh ministers are unhappy with the reply. House is adjourned till 2 pm.

2.10 pm

Collectorate, defence establishment down shutters in Masula

Machilipatnam: Complete bandh was observed across the Eastern Krishna including district headquarters of Machilipatnamt. Law Minister K. Ravindra accompanied by TDP State Secretary K. Bullaiah have led the bandh in the prime locations of Machilpatnam town while another group led by YSRC party leader Perni Nani took out a mass bike rally across the town. However, the left parties also joined in the bandh, ensuring complete shutdown of the Bharat Electronics Limited’s unit here, apart from disrupting transportation services.

The government staff who attended the Collectorate on Thursday morning were asked to shut down their offices. The roads were blocked and the restaurants and Rythu Bazaars across the Eastern Krishna district remained shut since morning.

In a demonstration in front of Machilipatnam bus terminus, Law Minister K. Ravindra expressed his anguish that the people of Andhra Pradesh had to wait for timely support from the Central government for four years for speeding up projects including building Amaravati and that Narendra Modi-led government did not bother about progress of the State.

The bandh was observed peacefully amid huge deployment of police across the district.

12.55 pm

All normal in Tirupati

The bandh remains total and peaceful in the temple city of Tirupati and Tirumala. Life remained normal in Tirumala and the town buzzed with pilgrim activity.

As APSRTC buses stayed off the road and long distance services remained suspended, visiting devotees had to face hardship. As is the practice during such bandhs, the buses were allowed to ply only on the Tirumala ghat road, in order not to inconvenience the pilgrims.

YSRC, Congress, CPI and CPM workers roamed around the city on two wheelers and enforced the bandh. Schools and colleges remained closed, while the trade and commerce sections also volunteered to down their shutters in response to the call given by the opposition parties to extend cooperation. YSRC State spokesperson Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and Nagari MLA R. K. Roja participated in an all party demonstration by squatting on the road.

YSR Congress State spokesperson Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and Nagari MLA R.K. Roja demonstrate along with Left party activists in Tirupati on Thursday

YSR Congress State spokesperson Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and Nagari MLA R.K. Roja demonstrate along with Left party activists in Tirupati on Thursday   | Photo Credit: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

 

The organisers who took a practical approach to the difficulties to which the pilgrims visiting the town from the nook and corner of the country are likely to be subjected exempted the town from the bandh call. Vehicular traffic remained undisturbed and the RTC buses as well as the taxis plied on both the ghat roads on normal basis

12. 40 pm

Situation in Anantapur peaceful

Bandh complete in all parts of Anantapur district. No violent acts reported from anywhere in the district. Some government offices such as the DEO office were closed down by protesting groups.

Left leaders in most parts of the district were arrested soon after the bandh started. Left leaders tried to stop a TDP rally in Kalyanadurgam. YSRCP leaders across the district and especially in Anantapur were seen implementing the bandh.

12.15 pm

Bandh evokes mixed response

Visakhapatanam: The bandh evoked a mixed response in the city.

Andhra University had announced suspension of classes at the university and its affiliated colleges in view of the bandh. Schools and colleges had also declared a holiday.

With the AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) withdrawing buses as a precautionary measure, the main roads in the city were free and private vehicles and autorickshaws moved freely. There were, however, traffic jams at some junctions in view of the protests by the Opposition parties.

ATM s ran dry in some areas like Seethammadhara and some banks were locked from outside as the employees worked inside.

The police diverted traffic through alternative routes as the bandh enforcers squatted at the main junctions at Jagadamba junction, Maddilapalem and other areas shouting slogans against the Centre for its failure to allocate funds in the budget for the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, like granting of Special Category Status (SCS) to AP and a new rail zone in AP with headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

Autorickshaws did brisk business and in the absence of public transport, some people were seen walking on the roads. Most shops downed their shutters at Jagadamba junction and some other areas, but there was little response in other areas with many shops remaining open. 

Visakha Railway Zone Sadhana Samithi convener and CPI State assistant secretary J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, CPI district secretariat member A. Vimala, Congress leader and former MLA Dronamraju Srinivas, and YSR Congress Party leaders and activists were seen staging a dharna at Jagadamba junction in the morning.

The CPI State assistant secretary said that unlike in the past, the Congress and YSRCP were directly participating in the bandh called by the Left Parties as the issues concerned were protection of the interests of AP.

At Maddilapalem junction, CPI-M, CPI and YSRCP leaders and activists squatted on the road and stopped traffic for sometime early in the morning. Activists of Jana Sena Party (JSP) took out a rally and staged a dharna at Jagadamba junction

The bandh was peaceful in the city with no reports of any untoward incidents till around noon and there were no arrests.

11.45 am

'Baahubali collections more than Centre’s assistance to AP'

Taking a dig at the Centre, TDP Lok Sabha member Jayadev Galla said that the box-office collections of blockbuster ‘Baahubali’ were more than the funds provided by it to Andhra Pradesh.

According to reports, Telugu blockbuster Baahubali-2 earned about Rs. 1,700 crore from Indian and overseas markets.

Accusing the NDA government of not doing anything to fulfil the promises made at the time of bifurcation of the state, Galla wanted to know what the government did in the last four years.

Referring to the funds provided by the Centre to Andhra Pradesh, Galla quipped that even the collections made by Telugu film Baahubali were more than what the state received from the centre.

Demands special finance package

Galla said as many as 19 promises which include grant of special category status to the state, setting up of a new railway zone and funding construction of new capital of Amravati were still pending.

He said the people of Andhra Pradesh were no fools and will not forgive the BJP for not fulfilling the promises made at the time of bifurcation of the state.

The Centre, he said, should immediately grant special financial package to the state and provide Rs. 10,000 crore every year for construction of public buildings and infrastructure in Amravati.

He further said that while TDP followed the coalition dharma, the BJP failed. “We have to reconsider why we are in relationship,” he added.

11.30 am

Jana Sena workers held novel protest by eating grass

Rajamahendravaram/Eluru: Jana Sena workers in Eluru held novel protest by eating grass as a symbolism for the state of the people after the meager allocation for the State in the Union Budget.

The party workers assembled at Birla Bhavan center with grass bundles in their hand and ate them for a moment to express their protest. They raised slogans against Center and demanded due share for the State from Union government.

Jana Sena workers, led by Y. Srinivas of East Godavari, held dharna and rally in Rajamahendravaram.

Journalists belonging to APUWJ, led by district president Mandela Srirammurthy, Vice-president T. Srinivas, electronic media president K. Parthasarathi, joint secretary Palaparti Srinivas and others, led the dharna programme arranged at Syamala Center in Rajamahendravaram. The members of APUWJ also held dharnas in Kakinada, Amalapuram, Anaprti, Tuni, Ramachandrapuram, Rampachodavaram, Addateegala and Rajavommangi.

TDP and all Party's activists staging a protest during the State-wide bandh call in Rajamahendravaram on Thursday.

TDP and all Party's activists staging a protest during the State-wide bandh call in Rajamahendravaram on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: S. Rambabu

 

Left party leaders, Janasena and YSRCP leaders along with journalists blocked NH-16 for more than one hour near Ravulapalem due to which vehicular traffic come to halt from Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam side.

Bandh total

Bandh was total in East Godavari as Left parties, YSRCP and Janasena leaders took active part. All business establishments, educational institutions and markets were closed on its eve. RTC stopped plying buses and Nannaya University Registrar declared holiday and cancelled the scheduled exams. Chamber of Commerce led by Nandepu Srinivas, Dondapati Satyambabu, Subbarayudu and Ashok Kumar Jain led businessmen and traders to take out rally from Kotagummam to Deluxe center.

RTC buses parked at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada as a part of the State bandh on Thursday morning.

RTC buses parked at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada as a part of the State bandh on Thursday morning.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

YSRCP leaders Rowthu Suryaprakasha Rao, Kandula Durgesh, Jakkampudi Vijayalakshmi, M. Sharmila Reddy and others addressed the dharna at YSR statue in Kotagummam center and took out rally through main road.

In Kakinada CPI leaders Tatipaka Madhu, AIDWA leader Tulasi and others held dharna and rasta roko at Bhanugudi center after taking out rally.

11.25 am

Lok Sabha adjourned due to TDP protests

TDP members continued their protest in both Houses against non-fulfilment of promises made by the NDA government at the time of bifurcation of the State. On Wednesday, they had staged a walkout in Lok Sabha during the debate on the budget.

Members from Andhra Pradesh continue their sloganeering on Thursday too. Some of them were seen obstructing Lok Sabha staff. Speaker strongly objects to this. "If something happens to the Lok Sabha staff, it won't be nice. Don't disturb them," she says.

 

11.15 am

AP bandh evokes good response in Srikakulam

Srikakulam: With directive of government, APSRTC suspended all of it 400 services. All schools and colleges remained closed in the district. Several top leaders of opposition parties have been taken into custody and around 200 persons have been detained in various police stations.

YSRCP leader and former minister Dharmana Prasada Rao is participating in bandh in Srikakulam.

YSRCP leader and former minister Dharmana Prasada Rao is participating in bandh in Srikakulam.   | Photo Credit: K. Srinivasa Rao

 

YSRCP leader and former minister Dharmana Prasada Rao also participated in the bandh here.

11.00 am

Good response for bandh in Prakasam

Ongole: Near total bandh observed across Prakasam district. State-run buses were confined to eight bus depots across the district following a protest by opposition party activists led by  YSR Congress State General Secretary Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, Congress City President Sripathi Prakasam, Communist Party of India (CPI) District Secretary M.L.Narayana, the CPI (Marxist) East Prakasam Secretary P.Anjaneyulu and CPI(ML) New Democracy District Secretary Ch.Venkateswarlu. 

They raised slogans demanding special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh and implementation in toto of the provisions of the State Reorganisation Act. 

Security stepped up

Police stepped up security at railway stations, bus stations, central and State government offices and other vital installations by pressing into service all police personnel at their command including those undergoing training at the Police Training College.

Bandh supporters play cricket after confining buses to depot in Ongole.

Bandh supporters play cricket after confining buses to depot in Ongole.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Private educational institutions declared holiday for students in view of bandh while State-run schools reported thin attendance. The bandh supporters went in a procession and forced closure of central and State government offices, shops and other business establishments.

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