HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Telangana row: crisis deepens, blackout continues in Andhra

Prasad Nichenametla and KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times  Hyderabad/Visakhapatnam, October 08, 2013
First Published: 09:15 IST(8/10/2013) | Last Updated: 09:29 IST(9/10/2013)

Production of over 4,670 MW of power – about half the normal capacity in Andhra Pradesh -- came to a halt as electricity department employees continued their strike for the third consecutive day on Tuesday against the union cabinet nod for Telangana statehood.

A marathon meeting between the striking employees and a ministerial committee and another one with chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy in the state secretariat failed to resolve the crisis. The joint action committee (JAC) of the electricity employees said it would withdraw the strike only if the Centre rolls back its decision to create the Telangana state.

“It was difficult to convince the JAC – a grouping of numerous unions – to agree to our request,” a senior official said.

The strike by thousands of workers blacked out several districts of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema on Tuesday. The fall in the power supply and transmission also impacted Hyderabad, which is reeling under frequent power cuts.

The disruption of power supply is causing severe difficulties for the public. People are unable to draw water or recharge their mobiles. Patients in hospitals also suffered.

Police run to disperse supporters of united Andhra Pradesh throwing stones at the Congress party office in Ananthapuram district some 400 kms from Hyderabad. (AFP file photo)

Though senior electricity department officials claimed that the power supply was restored in all districts, many places remained cut off.

Meanwhile, railway officials said the movement of trains in the Seemandhra region improved on Tuesday. While traction power supply was restored on several lines, the South Central Railway pressed several diesel engines into service and several more were put on standby to deal with exigencies.

Dozens of trains were either cancelled or delayed in the past three days due to the power failure.

In Coastal Andhra, people got some relief with partial restoration of electricity after the authorities procured power from the eastern grid. Top priority for power supply was given to hospitals in cities and towns.

However, power supply to rural areas in many districts remained cut off. Many areas have been without power for the past two days. Urban areas faced power cuts ranging from 6-12 hours.

While Visakhapatam city reported restoration of power in many areas, supply was erratic in the outlying areas.

In Vijayanagaram, the town that witnessed large-scale violence over the weekend, curfew was relaxed for an hour to let people purchase essential commodities.

The police said a decision on further relaxation or lifting of the curfew would be taken after reviewing the situation late on Tuesday night.

Video: Andhra residents bear brunt of anti-bifurcation protests

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