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Oct 07, 2013 at 11:36am IST

Power hit in AP as employees join protests, curfew in Vizianagram

Hyderabad: Several districts in Andhra Pradesh remain on the edge as anti-Telangana forces have stepped up their agitation. The state is facing a power crisis with over 50,000 workers from the power sector having joined anti-bifurcation protests.

Generation and supply of electricity was severely affected in several parts of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Monday due to ongoing strike. In the wake of the stir, Railways cancelled several passenger services and the pilgrim town of Tirumala-Tirupati, where the annual 'Brahmotsavams' were going on, was also affected, official sources said.

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Power generation was severely affected at units in Vijayawada, Srisailam areas among others. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has appealed to the striking employees of TRANSCO, GENCO and DISCOMs to resume duties immediately, an official release said.

The strike has hit important services like hospitals, drinking water, railways among others. Since general public are suffering for no fault of theirs, the employees should rethink about their strike on humanitarian grounds and avoid inconvenience, the Chief Minister said.

Kiran held a high-level review meeting with senior officials of energy department and power utilities. On occasion of 'Brahmotsavams', thousands of pilgrims from all over the world visiting Tirumala for 'darshan' of Lord Venkateswara are facing inconvenience, he said.

Kiran asked employees of Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) from Krishna, Guntur, Ongole, Nellore, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Chittoor districts to call off the strike and resume duty considering the ongoing Brahmotsavams at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.

On directions of the Chief Minister, the Joint Executive Officer (JEO) of TTD held discussions with electricity employees leaders and as a result, power supply to Tirumala has been restored, according to sources. Meanwhile, the South Central Railway said several trains have been fully cancelled or regulated in view of the strike by the employees of Andhra Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation (APTRANSCO).

Meanwhile, shoot-at-sight orders remain in place in curfew-bound Vizianagaram. Police fired rubber bullets in the air at Kothapeta area on the outskirts of Vizianagaram town in the face of stone-pelting, and lathicharged a crowd in Palliveedhi area, as tension prevailed in the town and other parts of the district for the third day.

According to reports, 20 policemen have been injured since clashes broke out and they were taken to local hospitals while 30 protesters suffered injuries in Sunday's violence.

According to Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, IGP (North Coastal Zone), curfew has been imposed and shoot-at-sight orders issued by the district administration. He claimed that the situation in Seemandhra was by and large under control. Satya Engineering College, run by family members of the Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana at Gajularega on the outskirts of Vizianagaram, was also attacked in the violence. The properties of Satyanarayana were being targeted by the protesters since the last two days.

(With additional information from PTI)