Over four lakh government employees in Andhra Pradesh have stepped out of their offices and begun an indefinite strike on the streets of Rayalaseema and coastal regions of the state on Tuesday.
In a bid to stop the bifurcation of the state, employees from all the government departments in Seemandhra joined the strike, which was called by the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGO) Association.
The APNGO initiated the strike after the UPA working committee endorsed the formation of Telangana on 30 July. Shutdowns and protests have continued in the region since then.
Seemandhra employees from the state secretariat in Hyderabad are taking part in the strike. Even the employees of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) participated in the strike and more than 12,000 buses have been off the roads in the state since midnight.
The APNGO has relieved the municipal administration, health and electricity departments emergency services from participating in the strike.
But markets, business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed in all the districts of Seemandhra. Petrol pump owners have deserted the bunkers and joined the strike. Lawyers, too, boycotted the courts.
Meanwhile, Congress doesn't seem to budge from its decision of carving out a separate Telangana. In Parliament on Tuesday, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram assured that formation of the 29th state of India won't take long.
"I cannot give a date. The process will be taken forward in accordance with the procedure and precedence," Chidamabaram told the Rajya Sabha.
Last week, Chidambaram had said there are a number of 'substantive issues' on the Telangana statehood that need to be addressed. On Tuesday, he stated on the Seemandhra protests that "Every political party's view will be kept in mind before the government takes a decision on how to take forward the process of Telanagana formation."