Bandh over power tariff hike cripples Andhra Pradesh news
09 April 2013

Normal life in Andhra Pradesh has been hit by a state-wide shutdown today on a bandh call given by the opposition parties against the recent hike in the state's power tariffs.

Buses of the state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were suspended in most parts of the state as opposition leaders and activists stopped vehicles.

Shops and business establishments also remained closed in many towns.

In the capital of Hyderabad, the response was reported to be mixed.

Shops and business establishments downed their shutters at many places in the city, while some educational institutions have already announced the postponement of exams even though educational institutions have been exempted from the bandh.

On the other hand a report from Visakhapatnam district said the Opposition-sponsored bandh against power tariff hike evoked total response. Banks, business establishments, educational institutions and hotels remained closed.

Ten Left parties have called for the shutdown, including the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other opposition parties.

Leaders of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the other Left parties were arrested when they tried to stop buses at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station in Hyderabad.

CPI state secretary K Narayana said the protests would continue till the government rolls back the hike in electricity tariff and also withdraws the power surcharge imposed by power distribution companies for purchase of electricity from outside the state.

Opposition parties staged sit-ins outside State Road Transport Corporation depots in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati and other towns in the state.

The Congress government led by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has criticised the opposition for calling the shutdown. The ruling party leaders said the government had already provided relief to the poor by exempting consumers using 200 units a month from the hike.

The government said that it was already bearing a power subsidy burden of Rs6,300 crore.

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission announced a new power tariff order for the financial year 2013-14, allowing power distribution companies to levy additional tariff amounting to Rs6,173 crore on consumers from 1 April

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Bandh over power tariff hike cripples Andhra Pradesh