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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seemandhra burning - Telengana creation affecting other parts.....

It is tough enforcing discipline and there are self-made chaos….

In the holy month of Purattasi comes the Annual Tirupathi Brahmothsavam where lakhs converge to have darshan of Lord Balaji astride various vahanas.  This year as against expectations fo more than 1.5 lakhs of pilgrims everyday, it is stated that the first two days saw only 50,000 devotees ~ far less than the usual week-end rush at holy Tirumala.  The pilgrims generally do not think of any comforts ~ a glimpse of Lord Venkateswara is what they want and pray for………. Still, there have been so many  impediments in their holy trip this time. 

Reaching Tirupathi itself has become difficult ~ and climbing the hills more arduous as around 100 buses only ply between Alipiri and Tirumala. There were huge crowds at Chennai [Chenapatnam koil in Flower Bazaar till Yanai Kouni] (that there was news of jihadi terrorists planning to disrupt is a different news altogether) ~ the kudai procession [of holy umbrellas] reached AP border and some who accompanied in cars are quoted as stating that they did not face any problems – officials at the checkposts are on strike and cars were not stopped.  Earlier there were disturbing news that roads had been closed, no transport available – pilgrims had to climb by foot only; no hotels for stay and food and there was severe power shortage in the temple town…… some buses reportedly were attacked too.  

Clearly the unthought, unplanned, underprepared, no strategy on T has put Andhra in a boiling cauldron….after the decision of Congress to accede to the request for creation of 29th State, its own leaders from Seemandhra region have been unrelenting in their opposition to the creation of a separate Telangana state. Now the State is boiling with chaotic protests all over………… clearly the move to create T – had no consensus, not backed by any strong political will and no strategy for ironing out the rough edges.  A State created after Gandhian Potti Sriramulu went on fast unto death at Maharshi Bulusu Sambamurthy’s house in Madras in October 1952 is now in turmoil ~ and it threatens to be ‘a dark era’….

Vast swathes of southern India across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka stared at dark days and huge industrial losses as the southern power grid creaked on Monday with workers at generating units shutting down thermal plants. The production from thermal plants, Simhadri and Ramagundam, contribute around 900MW to Tamil Nadu. From Sunday, production from these plants has been affected and the total contribution from central plants has dipped to 2,000MW from 3,045MW. The collapse of the southern grid will lead to a total blackout in the southern states.

As blackouts worsened, protesters in the Seemandhra region, angry with the AP bifurcation plan, blocked highways and crippled movement of goods in the eastern-southern corridor across Odisha, West Bengal, TN and Karnataka. In Odisha, the blockade has already resulted in skyrocketing of prices of essential commodities. Protesters have sporadically blocked national highways passing through Seemandhra for the last two months. But now, with the movement to keep Andhra united reaching a crescendo, trucks were forced to halt at several places for hours, disrupting freight movement from Tamil Nadu to West Bengal. All Seemandhra districts are connected with one or the other national highway right from Srikakulam to Nellore in the coastal part and all the four districts of Rayalaseema.

The protests are showing no signs of abating… at Vizianagaram, shoot-at-sight orders had to be issued and parts placed under curfew after widespread violence.  There is also apprehension that transmission of power to Tamil Nadu via Andhra Pradesh might be hindered. Power managers are worried about the temperature continuing to remain high in some parts of the state as this would mean increased use of airconditioners. The protests also threw train schedules off-track and forced scores of cancellations because there was no electricity or tracks were blocked by activists. While protests from Srikakulam to Nellore have crippled the transport of goods between Kolkata-Chennai, blockades in Krishna district have brought transport vehicles to a halt between Chennai-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Kolkata, and Vijayawada-Jagadalpur highways. Roadblocks in the Rayalaseema region have hit movement the Chennai-Bangalore highways. The delay in each day's journey is resulting in a huge financial burden cries the merchants.  The transporters are also affected as they are not earning freight.

The anti-Telangana agitation has hit bus services between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. While government buses on both sides of the border have not been operating for the last two months, private operators, who run about 40 daily services from Chennai to Hyderabad, Tirupati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, stopped buses on Monday. As bus services were stopped, people are depending on trains to travel to Andhra Pradesh. Chennai-Hyderabad and Vijayawada trains are sold out on Tuesday and have a long waitlist on Wednesday.

Reports state that Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday briefed the PM on Andhra Pradesh amid indications that the worsening protests and power crisis in Seemandhra may lead the Centre to consider putting the state under central rule.  Paper reports suggest that if AP CM Kiran Reddy, himself a Rayalaseema politician, vacillates on “tough” measures, the Centre won’t shy away from invoking Article 356.

Clearly trouble and there appears that Centre does not have any strategy to handle the explosive situation at all

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Oct 2013

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