Opposition shutdown in Andhra hits normal life

Hyderabad, April 9 (IANS) Normal life in Andhra Pradesh was hit Tuesday as opposition parties in the state called for a shutdown to protest the hike in electricity tariff.

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 Hyderabad, the response was mixed.

Ten Left parties have called for the shutdown, which is being supported by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress Party, 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 protest 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 APSRTC depots in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati and other towns in the state.

Educational institutions have been exempted from the shutdown in view of the examinations.

The Congress government 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.

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