Normal life in the entire Telangana region came to a halt on the seventh day of general strike on Monday with thousands of activists taking to the street demanding statehood for the region.
Nearly 10,000 buses of the State Road Transport Corporation were off the roads on Monday with over 54,000 employees of Telangana region joining the indefinite general strike.
All bus depots in the region including the Mahatma Gandhi Central Bus Stand wore a deserted look. While nearly 3000 buses were off the roads in Hyderabad, about 900 buses in Warangal, 705 in Nalgonda, 900 in Karimnagar, 550 in Medak and 791 buses in Mahabubnagar did not ply on Monday. The students and office-goers were the worst hit due to the RTC strike.
Although the transport department gave open permission to all private transport buses, tractors and Lorries to carry passengers, not many vehicles were seen on the road. Bus services to like Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Tirupati were cancelled on Sunday night itself. The additional local trains operated by the railways in Hyderabad and surrounding areas failed to minimise the strike's impact.
According to RTC managing director Prasada Rao, alternate arrangements were being made to operate the buses. Besides the deployment of security personnel at the bus depots, the RTC managements was also trying to utilise the services of retired drivers and ex-servicemen. He said that the RTC has suffered a loss of over Rs 7 crore on the first day of strike.
The Telangana employees' general strike on Monday began with a violent note. Incidents of stone pelting, lath charge and firing of tear gas shells were reported from the Osmania University campus. The security personnel foiled the OU students' attempt to take out a rally to the Secretariat. Police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the students. In retaliation, the students resorted to stone pelting. Situation was also tense at Nizam College hostel when the police foiled students' rally and stopped them at the hostel's gate.
While a majority of private schools remained closed in the region, Telangana lawyers also boycotted the courts.
The Telangana activists also blocked highways at several places. TRS MP Vijayashanti, MLAs T Harish Rao and K Taraka Rama Rao, Telangana Praja Front chief Gaddar and other leaders participated in the highway blockades.