The State-wide bandh called by the TSRTC-JAC on the 15th day of the indefinite strike by the RTC employees to press for merger of the public transport entity with the State government among other demands, threw normal life out of gear across the erstwhile composite Khammam district on Saturday.
Described as a resounding success by the RTC-JAC, the bandh saw almost all the Corporation buses as well as hired buses staying off the roads, shops downing their shutters and Opposition parties holding joint protests expressing solidarity with the RTC employees’ strike.
Rallies, road rokos, demonstrations by the activists of the Opposition parties including the Congress, the CPI (M), the CPI (ML-ND) and the CPI, members of different mass organisations in support of the ongoing strike by the RTC staff marked the bandh.
Reminiscing the days of the “Sakala Janula Samme” during the peak of statehood movement in 2011, the aggrieved striking employees poured out their woes by singing songs at the bus stations in Khammam and elsewhere in the district.
Articulating their demands assertively, the striking employees of the Corporation gave vent to their travails resenting the government’s alleged “apathetic attitude” towards their 15-day old strike, through songs during a demonstration held in front of the bus station in Khammam.
Similar demonstrations were held in front of the virtually deserted bus stations in Kothagudem and Bhadrachalam towns.
Several demonstrators were detained by the police in various parts of the district during the protests. However, all of them were let off some time later.
Police remained vigilant and made elaborate security arrangements in and around the bus stations and depots all over the district to prevent untoward incidents.
Cadres of the Left parties played kabaddi in front of the bus stand in Khammam in an effort to show their solidarity with the agitating RTC employees and provide an impetus to their fortnight-long indefinite strike.
Members of various teachers’ and other employees’ associations also pledged their support to the strike by sporting black badges in Madhira, Penuballi and various other mandals of the district.