The power crisis in Andhra Pradesh (AP) continued on Monday as anti-Telangana protests entered their fourth day in Seemandhra region.
Police said tension was still running high in Vijayanagaram district where protesters had destroyed properties of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Botsa Satyanarayana two days ago.
The district is under curfew though sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported in some areas.
The power shutdown began on Sunday morning in 13 districts of Seemandhra (comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) after Power Employees' Joint Action Committee called an indefinite strike to protest the carving out of Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.
They had announced on Saturday that 70,000 workers of transmission, generation and distribution companies would go on an indefinite stir.
On Monday, more unions joined the stir. The power shutdown has hit daily services. Reports say ATMs are not functioning in cities while at least 32 trains have been cancelled.
Police say the situation has improved since Sunday, but heavy deployment of security personnel continues and patrolling has been strengthened. Police have advised people not to venture out of their houses as a safety precaution.
Thanks to the curfew and violence, a major hike in the prices of essential commodities has also hit Vijayanagaram.
A packet of half a litre of milk costing Rs. 18 is now being sold at Rs. 70. Tomatoes being sold as Rs170 per kg while eggs at Rs. 6 apiece has made life hard for the residents.
At Nakkapalli, about 85km from Vishakhapatnam, protesters blocked traffic on the highway. Similar blockades have been reported from various places as protesters shout slogans against Congress and Sonia Gandhi.
JAC Nakkapali leader N Chalapati Rao told Hindustan Times that leaders at state and Centre had ignored the masses and hurt their sentiments.
Meanwhile, reports from Hyderabad say the state government's invitation for talks has been turned down by NGO employees' union, which is on strike.
The NGOs' union said there was no use of sub-committee talks and they would not attend the meet. They are demanding talks at the chief minister-level.
Power production at the Kadapa and Vijayawada thermal units and Srisailam hydro units has also been hit.
Further tripping could affect the entire southern grid, employees said. Some media reports said even neighbouring Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were affected.
On Sunday, protesters defied curfew and shoot-at-sight orders to clash with police and pelted stones at security forces. The troops retaliated by firing rubber bullets. Curfew was also imposed in Vizianagaram town after daylong violence on Saturday.
According to media reports, 20 policemen and 30 protesters were injured. Dozens of agitators were arrested.