Hyderabad: Opposition parties have begun a statewide in Andhra Pradesh to protest against the power tariff hike. Road traffic is likely to be affected in Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada but autos and buses are plying in Hyderabad.
Banks will also remain open in Hyderabad but schools and clleges have declared a holiday. The Left sponsored shutdown has been supported by the main opposition the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress Party.
The BJP has also called for a separate strike. Leaders and activists of opposition parties held demonstrations in front of bus-depots in different districts across Andhra Pradesh, however, there were no reports of untoward incidents so far. Shops and business establishments downed their shutters at many places in Hyderabad while some educational institutions had already announced on postponing the exams.
Police took CPI State secretary K Narayana and CPM state secretary BV Raghavulu in preventive custody when they tried to hold protests and stop plying of buses near the MGBS here. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had earlier announced some relief and said that there was no hike in power charges for consumers whose consumption is upto 200 units per month.
The Opposition, however, demanded for a complete roll-back of the power tariff hike saying people were already being burdened by 'fuel surcharge adjustment' (FSA) charges. The government, said that it was already bearing a power subsidy burden of Rs 6,300 crore.
Meanwhile, a report from Visakhapatnam district said the Opposition-sponsored one-day bandh against power tariff hike evoked total response. Banks, business establishments, educational institutions, hotels remained closed.
According to RTC sources, city bus services and long distance services were suspended by authorities in view of the bandh. However, government offices and public sector undertakings in the city reported thin attendance.
According to police, the bandh was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the district. Security was beefed up at various places in the district.
AP Electricity Regulatory Commission announced a new power tariff order for FY 2013-14, allowing power distribution companies to levy additional tariff of Rs 6,173 crore on consumers from April 1. Leaders of TDP, Left, YSR Congress and BJP have also held fasts over the issue.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)