Normalcy returns in Seemandhra as employees return to work

Hyderabad, Oct 18 (IANS) After more than two months, normalcy returned in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions of Andhra Pradesh with government employees Friday returning to their duties.

Government offices in all 13 districts of Seemandhra, as the two regions are collectively known, re-opened after 66 days as over 400,000 employees resumed work, a day after they decided to call off the indefinite strike over the central government's decision to bifurcate the state.

As the offices were closed for over two months, a thick layer of dust had deposited on the files while computers and other infrastructure were in disarray. The staff was seen busy in cleaning the offices.

People in large numbers queued up at various offices to get their work done pending for several weeks. The state machinery was crippled since Aug 13 when the employees began indefinite strike to oppose the decision to carve out separate Telangana state.

Various associations of the employees Thursday called off their strike after Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy assured to write a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that Telangana issue is referred to the state assembly twice.

The chief minister also assured them that Telangana bill will be defeated in the assembly and that there is no change in his stand that the state should remain united.

Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association president P. Ashok Babu said they had temporarily called off the strike. He said if the central government takes any further step for bifurcation, they would not hesitate to go on strike again.

With the government employees calling off their strike, normalcy has completely restored in Seemandhra, which was in turmoil ever since Congress decided on July 30 to bifurcate the state.

Last week, over 200,000 teachers and employees of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) withdrew their strike last week following talks with the chief minister.

The schools and colleges re-opened Thursday, after two months. The APSRTC buses also returned on the roads last week.

The withdrawal of strike by various sections of employees has considerably brought down the intensity of 'samaikyandhra' (united Andhra) agitation.

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is incharge of party affairs in the state, Friday thanked APNGOs for calling off the strike.

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