Telangana shutdown hits life, buses go off roads

Yet another shutdown in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh affected normal life Monday even as train services were set to be restored after a two-day 'rail blockade' to demand a separate Telangana state.

Public buses, which had returned on the roads Sunday after a 28-day long strike, again went off the roads while schools, shops and other business establishments remained closed in most parts of the region.

There was not much impact of the shutdown in Hyderabad as Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses plied normally. Even autorickshaws were plying though the leaders of the drivers' union had called for joining the shutdown.

However, the shutdown hit normal life in the majority of the nine other districts with buses and autorickshaws going off the roads again. Educational institutions, which were scheduled to re-open after a month-long strike by teachers, remained closed. They are now likely to resume classes from Tuesday.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) has called for the daylong shutdown to protest police "excesses" during the rail blockade. It alleged that false cases were booked against thousands of protestors, including MPs and MLAs, and that the government misused power to suppress the agitation.

JAC, which had called for a three-day rail blockade, decided to cut it short to two days and instead called for a shutdown Monday.

Train services, which remained paralysed for two days, are likely to be restored Monday. Officials said the trains would be operated once the railway personnel complete the inspection of tracks as protestors had removed fish plates at a few places during the blockade.

The shutdown is complete in Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar and Medak disrtricts. Protestors staged sit-in outside APSRTC depots to ensure that no bus moved out.

Police arrested 50 protestors at Narketpalli in Nalgonda district when they staged a road blockade on the Vijayawada-Hyderabad highway.

Police stopped about 100 buses coming from Vijayawada towards Hyderabad at the check post between coastal Andhra and Telangana regions early Monday as a precautionary measure.

Both RTC and private buses were stopped at Kesara in Krishna district at 3 a.m., causing inconvenience to passengers. While some buses returned to Vijayawada, others were diverted though Khammam district. The authorities were trying to accommodate the bus passengers into various trains.

Protestors attacked a petrol bunk in Warangal district. There are reports of road blockades at several places.

The strike by government employees across Telangana entered the 35th day Monday. The strike by workers in state-owned Singareni Collieries is also continuing.

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