Seemandhra power employees `temporarily` call off strike; no change in Telangana decision, says Shinde

Electricity sector employees in Seemandhra on Thursday "temporarily" called of their indefinite strike.

Hyderabad/New Delhi: Electricity sector employees in Seemandhra on Thursday "temporarily" called of their indefinite strike in view of the cyclone threat to give some respite from power cuts that crippled last parts of Andhra Pradesh over the last five days.

As the AP government negotiated the truce with the employees on strike in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, the Centre ruled out going back on the decision to create Telangana but gave no indication of timeframe for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.

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Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who outlined the Centre`s stand, also did not rule out imposition of President`s rule in the southern state.

Complete normalcy in the power situation is expected to be restored only tomorrow when the employees protesting against Telangana statehood will resume duties. The cyclonic storm Phailan is likely to hit Bay of Bengal coast tomorrow.

Following a request by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who held a third round of talks with the striking employees at the Secretariat in Hyderabad this afternoon, the Electricity Employees Joint Action Committee agreed to call off the strike and resume duties from tomorrow morning, JAC leader Saibabu said.

"We have not called off our strike completely. It`s only temporary in view of the cyclone threat," Saibabu told reporters in Hyderabad after the meeting.

The decision was taken to avoid inconvenience to the people, he said. Though he said electricity supply would be restored, immediately power outages were still being reported.

"We will, however, continue our protests in other forms," Saibabu added.

The JAC leader said 30,000 regular and 15,000 contract employees in the power sector took part in the indefinite strike.

The strike pushed 13 coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts into darkness, affecting movement of trains and emergency services in hospitals besides hampering supply to Hyderabad city.

"I do not think there is any possibility of going back to the decision to create Telangana," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in reply to questions at his monthly press conference in New Delhi.

Shinde, however, did not commit to whether the Telangana Bill will be tabled during the Winter session of Parliament.

He said the Group of Ministers, set up to look into the creation of Telangana, will submit its report as early as possible and justice will be given to Andhra Pradesh.

Asked whether the Centre was planning to impose President`s rule in the state, Shinde said, "that I cannot say now".

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