After failure of two rounds of talks earlier, leaders of agitating power sector employees will meet Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday in a bid to end the severe power crisis which has been the major fallout of protests against proposed Telangana state.
The CM will try to persuade over 30,000 agitating Seemandhra power employees to come back to work during the afternoon talks. The agitation has led to massive blackouts, affecting hospitals and train services. Two rounds of talks failed when the joint action committee of agitating employees refused to resume work unless the government assured them the state will not be divided.
Meanwhile, the situation is slowly lurching back to normal in five districts of Seemandhra - east and west Godavari, Vizianagaram, Vishakhapatnam and Srikakulam - where some of the employees have returned to work and power has been partially restored.
The Congress has been caught off balance by the intensity of protests in Seemandhra, the part of Andhra left behind after the government conceded the long-pending demand for the creation of Telangana. While chief minister Reddy has opposed the breakup of the state, he has refused to quit so far.
The five power plants situated in Seemandhra continue to be shut. All eyes are now on the meeting in Hyderabad and people are hoping that normalcy will be restored soon.
On the streets as well, a minor fatigue with protests is gradually setting in. The agitations against bifurcation of Andhra have almost completed two months since a Congress core group decided to create Telangana. With the festive Dussehra-Diwali season approaching, people are faced with livelihood issues and striking employees want political parties to take up the issue of united Andhra. The power outages of the past two days are also having their effect.
Senior government officials have expressed hope that the strike may be called off after the meeting on Wednesday. Further course of action would depend on the outcome of the meeting.