Telangana protests: Talks to restore power supply fail
Talks between authorities and striking power workers in India's southern Andhra Pradesh state have failed, resulting in crippling blackouts for the sixth consecutive day.
Protests against the formation of the new state of Telangana have resulted in lengthy power cuts across the state.
The power cuts have hit rail and air traffic while hospitals and emergency services are using generators.
Water supplies and mobile phone services have also been affected.
State chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held two rounds of talks on Tuesday night with the striking electricity workers, during which he requested them to return to work.
"The chief minister requested us to call off the indefinite strike but we refused. We will not exempt even emergency services from the strike," Saibabu, a leader of the striking workers, was quoted as telling reporters by the Press Trust of India news agency.
Reports say some 30,000 electricity workers have launched an indefinite strike against the proposed new state.
The strike has affected more than half of the state's power generation.
- Population of 35 million
- Comprises 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh, including city of Hyderabad
- Landlocked, predominantly agricultural area
- One of the most under-developed regions in India
- 50-year campaign for separate status
- More than 400 people died in 1969 crackdown
At least 13 districts have been badly hit with power cuts closing cash machines, petrol pumps, hospitals and cable TV services.
Many government offices and banks remained shut and employees have gone on hunger strikes.
The protesters say they do not want Andhra Pradesh split in two to create the new state.
They say the move will divide the Telugu language-speaking population and are unhappy that the state capital, Hyderabad, home to many major information technology and pharmaceutical companies, would become a shared state capital.
But supporters of Telangana say the region, comprising 10 districts of the southern state, including Hyderabad, has been neglected by central government.
Meanwhile, leaders of two major opposition parties in the state are continuing their indefinite fast demanding that the plans to divide the state be scrapped.
The president of the regional YSR Congress party, Jaganmohan Reddy, has been on hunger strike for the past four days while former chief minister and leader of the Telugu Desam party Chandrababu Naidu began his fast on Monday.