In face of severe financial constraints, the Seema-Andhra government employees called off their two-month strike held in protest against statehood for Telangana.
The protesters were holding out for a commitment from the Centre that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh would be put on hold. They are yet to get such an assurance.
But with the people having to go without salary since the strike began – since the statehood announcement on July 30 -- the AP-Non Gazetted Officers Association called it off after a meeting with chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday.
Lakhs of employees across the 13 Seemandhra districts had been on strike and the forfeited salary adds up to around Rs. 2,700 crore. The teachers, power and transport sectors workers have already called off their strike.
Reddy, however, has held out hopes that the statehood resolution would be voted down in the assembly. And if not, the employees intend to resume the strike. “We would restart the agitation based on the outcome in the Assembly,” said Ashok Babu, president of the AP-Non Gazetted Officers Association.
Reddy has assured the protesters that he would write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to follow the due procedure -- sending the resolution on separation for the assembly’s approval -- - before initiating the bifurcation process.
This was the procedure followed during the formation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. But for the state, the assurance is necessary, as the Centre has been sending mixed signals regarding the assembly’s approval of the Telangana resolution.
The ministers from Seemandhra, meanwhile, reiterated their stand in support of united Andhra Pradesh after a meeting on Thursday.
The meeting assumed importance as some of the ministers had been found vacillating on the issue recently.