Hyderabad: Several towns and hundreds of villages in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh yesterday plunged into darkness while several trains were cancelled as the indefinite strike by electricity employees to protest the decision to divide the state hit power generation and supply.
Following talks with the officials yesterday night, employees agreed to restore supply in six districts but made it clear that they would resume the strike today morning.
Supply was restored in Chittoor, Kadapa, Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam and Krishna districts after Southern Power Distribution Company Limited managing director H Y Dora held talks with employees’ leaders.
The strike caused severe inconvenience to people in Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are together known. There was no exemption to emergency services like hospitals, water supply and agriculture. Power supply in Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Nellore, Anantapur and other towns was hit.
In south coastal Andhra, employees cut supply to even the houses of central and state ministers, blaming them for the failure to stall the central government’s decision to carve out separate Telangana state. Generation of 1,054 MW at Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station at Kadapa came to a halt due to strike, plunging many parts of Rayalaseema in darkness.
Power supply to even famous Tirumala temple at Tirupati was disrupted. The supply was restored by the employees after talks with the temple authorities. Generation of 770 MW at Srisailam Hydel Power Station also came to a standstill.
At Vijayawada Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station, only 500 MW power was generated. The generation may come to a complete halt. Officials said if the strike continued, it may even lead to collapse of southern grid, affecting supply to entire south India.
The South Central Railway cancelled 24 passenger and four express trains as the electricity supply to railways was also hit. The strike may also hit the southern grid as all four southern states — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — are inter-linked. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy appealed to employees to call off the strike in view of the hardships to people.
Meanwhile, violence continued in Vizianagaram town in coastal Andhra despite indefinite curfew imposed by police to tackle violent protests, which broke out after union cabinet’s decision to divide the state. Violating the curfew, people in some parts of the town took to the streets, clashed with police and indulged in arson and stone pelting.
Police fired rubber bullets, teargas shells and carried out to baton charge as protestors including women attacked them with stones at few places in the town, about 700km from Hyderabad. IANS