Who will bell the cat?

THE inaction of the UPA government in New Delhi to resolve the vexed issue of separate statehood for Telangana may well cost the Congress dearly with most people now beginning to believe that the delaying tactics deployed by the ruling party was responsible for the precarious and grim situation prevailing in Andhra Pradesh, particularly in the volatile Telangana region.

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Published: Thu 22 Sep 2011, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:53 AM

Life in the region is slowly but surely turning into a nightmare with a major power crisis looming large on account of the coal shortage following the 70,000 miners of Singareni Collieries staying off work since the general strike began on September 13. With coal production virtually coming to a halt, the government has begun imposing power cuts all over the state ranging from two to four hours.

Movement of people has also been severely restricted after the 55,000 employees of the State-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) joined the general strike four days ago. And with separate statehood protagonists enforcing blockades on major Highways, the region has been virtually cut off from the rest of the state. There are apprehensions that the restriction on movement of traffic can lead to a cascading effect and result in serious shortage of essential commodities.

One can already see and feel the impact of the four lakh government employees in the region boycotting work in the past nine days. Work in key departments like power, treasury and finance have been crippled. Besides, several educational institutions, particularly in the nine district of the region have stopped functioning since the strike began.

Given the grim situation, one did not expect Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to strike a defiant posture even in his appeal to the separate statehood protagonists on Tuesday to call off the agitation. True, like the chief minister himself pointed out, the decision on the separate statehood issue has to come from the federal government, but the least Kiran Kumar Reddy could have done is desist from making provocative remarks like saying that the strike would not have any impact on the decision.

He was right in pointing out that it was the people of Telangana who were suffering the most on account of the agitation, but it doesn’t need a chief minister to state that, particularly when the people of the region believe that it is a small price to pay for what they describe as freedom from exploitation.

The chief minister also pointed out that the indefinite general strike was meaningless at this juncture since the Centre had time and again said it was seized of the matter and assured that it would take a decision on the demand for a separate state. The statehood protagonists, however, are quick to point out that all that the Centre has done so far is hand out such assurances without acting on it.

Instead of adopting a confrontationist approach, Kiran Kumar Reddy would do well if he mounts pressure on his party’s High Command and the Centre to ensure a quick solution to the problem before the situation in the state spirals out of control. But, will he?

That is the million dollar question!— news@khaleejtimes.com

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