Andhra and Rayalaseema suffered an almost complete blackout for the second consecutive day on Monday with the power employees’ joint action committee refusing to call off its indefinite strike.
Several hydel and thermal power stations stopped functioning, reducing power generation by 3,870 MW. Staff at Sileru and Donkarai power stations also joined the strike reducing power production by about 387 MW.
The demand for power in the State is 11,000 MW. The power deficit in Seemandhra is 100 million units. Though officials purchased 350 MW, it was just not enough to bridge the gap between demand and supply. As a result, the Railways was forced to cancel Jana Shatabdi Express between Vijayawada-Chennai and three passenger trains. Two other passenger trains were partially cancelled. But worse was the plight of the common man. Drinking water supply was hit in several villages and cities across Seemandhra. People couldn’t withdraw money from ATMs at several places, including Tirupati. Patients at hospitals in towns and cities also suffered. The strike by medical staff compounded the situation. Surgeries were postponed at many government and private hospitals.
The power crisis also hit airports in Visakhapatnam, Gannavaram and Rajahmundry. The Vizag airport is being run on back-up generators and authorities fear flight operations will be affected if power disruption continues for two more days.
Protests, meanwhile, continued across the region. While Vizianagaram was relatively calm despite people defying curfew for the second day, the Sunkesula reservoir in Kurnool mandal witnessed a massive protest.
Tension gripped the area after thousands of farmers and united AP activists tried to hold a public meeting. The reservoir stands between Kurnool in Rayalaseema and Mahbubnagar in Telangana. Fearing the worst, the police refused permission for a public meeting. They had to lathicharge the mob to bring the situation under control.
In Vizianagaram, district officials announced relaxation of curfew for an hour from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Tuesday. In Chittoor district, activists of the Samaikyandhra Parirakshana Samithi (SAPS) stopped the flow of Telugu Ganga water to Chennai city at Kallipudi village, near Srikalahasti for two hours and diverted the water to agricultural fields in nearby villages. Police and irrigation officials opened the gates later and restored water supply to Chennai.