Even as protests continued in the Seemandhra region over bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of imposition of President’s rule in the State.
The Minister, however, indicated that the State government might invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent its employees, including those in the power sector, from striking work and disrupting essential services.
“There is no plan under consideration to impose President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh… There is no such discussion in today’s Cabinet [meeting],” he told journalists here. The Centre was constantly monitoring the situation and kept additional forces on standby to prevent further deterioration of the law and order situation.
Mr. Shinde said protests in Seemandhra were a matter of grave concern for the Union government.
He assured the protesters that the Group of Ministers (GoM), formed to finalise the modalities for the formation of Telangana, would also address concerns being raised by the people of Rayalaseema and the coastal region of the State.
“The GoM will address all issues in a comprehensive manner and will hold detailed consultations with all stakeholders. We fully respect the sentiments of the people of the [Seemandhra] region on this sensitive issue...I would like to assure them that the Government of India remains fully committed to address all their concerns, particularly with respect to safeguarding the interests of people living in Telangana.”
Leaders and people of Seemandhra had expressed concern over the security and safety of their people living in Hyderabad, while they feared that their region would lose out on crucial issues such as sharing of river waters and other natural resources.
Attacks Jagan, Naidu
Mr. Shinde criticised YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu for going on fast for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh despite having given letters of support for the creation of Telangana. “I don't understand why they are on fast now,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and party in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijaya Singh has also criticised both leaders and assured the agitating people that the GoM would address all their concerns.
Referring to growing power crisis following strike by employees, Mr. Shinde said the Centre was trying to help Andhra Pradesh by giving additional power from neighbouring States.
Sources in the government said due to the strike, there was a shortfall of around 4,000 MW and it was affecting essential services in major cities and towns of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. The Power Ministry officials have arranged for supply of around 500 MW of additional supply from the National grid to the affected parts, but it failed to make much impact considering the huge demand. Though plants run by the Central organisations were not that much affected, functioning of the State government-owned units was affected. Ministry officials were in touch with the State government to let all power plants work with the help of engineers sourced from other agencies.