350,000 Andhra government staff to go on strike against Telangana decision

Call for roll back of decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh; government yet to respond to strike notice

By M Suchitra
Published: Wednesday 07 August 2013

About 350,000 government employees across 13 districts in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions will go on an indefinite strike from August 12 against the Centre’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh  and create a separate Tengana state. Staff from these districts working in Hyderabad city will also join the strike.

The leaders of the associations met state chief secretary P K Mohanty at the secretariat on August 6 and submitted their notices of strike. The service associations that will go on strike include those of revenue, excise, treasury and commercial taxes departments, municipal corporations, panchayati raj institutions, teachers, medical staff, electricity, road transport and other sectors.

On July 30, the United Progressive Alliance coordination committee and the Congress Working Committee (CWC) gave their approval for the carving out of the new state of Telangana  from Andhra Pradesh. The decision was met with protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions

Bifurcation will affect employees
The government employees associations, in their strike notices submitted to the chief secretary, pointed out that bifurcation would have serious implications on the future of employees and pensioners. There is uncertainty regarding seniority, promotion and transfer, and shifting of thousands of families from one state to another if the state is divided, state the notices. “We have unanimously decided to go on strike against both the Central and the state governments,” they state.

“The Centre should roll back the decision of the Congress Working Committee and send the A K Antony Committee to the state,” said P Ashok Babu, president of Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers’ Association at a press conference after meeting the chief secretary. “The committee should hold consultations with all sections of people and arrive at a consensus. The Telangana Bill should be introduced in Parliament only after the consultations,” he added.

Government employees’ associations in Seemandhra region are pressing for the resignation of Members of Parliament (MPs) and ministers from this region for mounting pressure on the Centre to withdraw its decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana.

Government yet to respond

The state government has not yet responded to the call for strike. When the government employees from the Telangana region went on a strike in 2011 for more than a month demanding an immediate decision by the Centre on the separate statehood for Telangana, the state government had strictly dealt with the strike. Revenue collections and payment of salaries and bills have been made online services.

The agitations will cause a loss of revenue to the state exchequer. According to official statistics, in 2012-13 the 13 Seemandhra districts contributed Rs 21,538 crore to the state exchequer as compared to Rs 47,607 crore from Telangana, including Hyderabad.

Students join protests

Meanwhile, strong agitations continue in Seemandhra districts. In many places shops remain shut. Students’ organisations from various universities have decided to intensify their struggle from today, demanding resignation of elected representatives and ministers from the region. All private schools in Visakhapatnam district observed a bandh yesterday to protest against the state bifurcation. School children organised rallies and human chains at various junctions in the district.


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