Hyderabad: Employees in Telangana will undertake demonstrations during lunch hour in their offices each day, besides adopting a ‘work to rule’ policy from Monday, as a buildup to the general strike called from August 17 across the region.
The lunch hour demonstrations come even as the state government has made known its decision to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against its employees who intend to join the propose general strike from August 17. In addition, the region will see the deployment of security forces in and around government offices, universities, hospitals and other institutions.
Besides invoking ESMA, the government has decided to impose ‘no work no pay’ rule.
The Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other unions have already warned the state government of serious consequences if it indeed uses the ESMA against the employees. The employees’ leaders have already stated that they would not buckle down at their meeting with the Group of Ministers on August 5.
The almost identical statement which emerged from the disparate groups fighting for Telangana was, “no measure could curb the sentiments of four crore people of the region.”
Apart from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Communist Party of India, Bharatiya Janata Party, Students’ JAC and other groups, the leaders of Congress and Telugu Desam Party from Telangana region have already declared their full support to the strike.
Taking note of the fact that the strike may paralyse the administration, the government has announced that it has invoked ESMA in the Departments of Health, Municipal Administration, State Road Transport Corporation, Electricity, Civil Supplies, Rural Water Supply and Panchayat Raj.
Under ESMA, a person found obstructing or disturbing the delivery of services by participating in the strike could face imprisonment for six months.
Meanwhile the government is making all efforts to avoid a February-March like situation when the earlier 16-day noncooperation agitation, in which nearly 3,00,000 employees took part, had severely hit the administration.
On the other hand, the employees’ unions are making all out efforts to garner the support of the employees themselves and of the public in general that the strike is an important tool to make the government bend and fulfill the demand of a separate Telangana state.(INN)