TRS activists took to streets against the Centre's ordinance of merging seven mandals of Khammam district in Telangana with Andhra Pradesh for the construction of the Polavaram irrigation project
GN Bureau | May 28, 2014
Even on the verge of becoming the 29th state of the country, Telangana appears to be a region still in the agitational hangover. The region, which will formally come into existence as a new state on June 2, went into a complete shutdown on Thursday, protesting against the Centre’s ordinance of merging seven mandals of Khammam district into the residuary Andhra Pradesh.
The six mandals are going to be the submergence areas of the controversial Polavaram irrigation project once it is completed.
A total bandh was observed across the 10 districts of the region in response to a call given by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Telangana’s chief minister-designate K Chandrasekhara Rao. The bandh call was given to oppose the Polavaram ordinance tooth and nail and send out a stern message to the Narendra Modi-led government.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses stayed off the roads as the workers abstained from work even as shops and all business establishments joined the protest call voluntarily. The TRS bandh call received widespread support with the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) besides a host of trade unions, teachers associations and people’s groups playing an active role in the stir. With political leaders leading the way, protests were staged outside bus depots across the region.
The controversial ordinance was supposed to have been issued by the previous UPA dispensation in the immediate aftermath of the passage of the Telangana bill in the parliament. It was one of the few consolations made by the Manmohan Singh government for Seemandhra while forcing the Telangana bill through the parliament. The ordinance could not be issued then as president Pranab Mukherjee refused to do so, citing the election code of conduct at that time.
In a gesture to showcase its commitment to the creation of Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh in time, the Narendra Modi government issued the ordinance soon after assuming power. The TRS is vocal in its opposition againsts the alienation of the six mandals from Telangana, calling it a move detrimental to the interests of the region. The party also demands structural changes in the design of the Polavaram project citing concerns from experts over its existence in a heavy earthquake-prone zone.
Spearheading the agitations, the party leaders accused the Modi government of acting at the behest of its alliance partner the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its chief Chandrababu Naidu.
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