Hyderabad/New Delhi: Bus transport came to a grinding halt across Telangana on Tuesday as a two-day shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) began in Hyderabad and nine other districts amid tight security.

State-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended all its services in Telangana districts and also the services which connect Telangana with Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Kurnool and other towns in Andhra and Rayalaseema.

APSRTC cancelled all its bus services in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad causing inconvenience to commuters.

Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, the biggest bus station in the state here, wore a deserted look as all 3,500 services to various parts of Telangana and other parts of the state were cancelled. Similar was the situation at Jubilee Bus Station in Secunderabad.

South Central Railway (SCR) cancelled all Multi Modal Transit System (MMTS) or local trains in Hyderabad and Secunderabad as a precautionary measure.

Shops, business establishments, petrol bunks and educational institutions also remained closed in response to the shutdown, demanding the Centre to table a Bill in Parliament to carve out a separate state of Telangana.

The shutdown evoked total response in Warangal, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medak and Adilabad districts.

APSRTC employees, along with Telangana activists, staged protests outside bus depots in various towns.

Activists of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other constituents of JAC took to streets to force the closure of shops in some districts. They were also seen stopping private vehicles.

The coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited came to a halt as the employees joined the strike. All the employees of the mines, spread over four districts, held protests.

All educational institutions remained closed in Hyderabad and nine other districts. Osmania University, Kakatiya University and Acharya NG Ranga Agriculture University cancelled the examinations scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Telangana crisis deepens

Andhra Pradesh appeared headed for a political crisis on Monday with Congress and TDP MPs and MLAs, including 11 Ministers, from Telangana region resigning en masse, mounting pressure on the Centre for early creation of a separate state.

Even as Home Minister P Chidambaram counseled patience telling them that the Centre would expedite the consultation process, lawmakers from the region took their campaign to a new level.

In Hyderabad, 39 Congress MLAs, including 11 ministers, resigned from the Assembly along with 34 TDP legislators. The Ministers, however, did not quit the Cabinet as planned earlier.

Seven Congress MPs met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in New Delhi and handed over their resignation letters along with that of two other MPs who could not be present. Rajya Sabha member K Keshav Rao met the Officer on Special Duty to Chairman Hamid Ansari and submitted his resignation.

Rao, who is spearheading the campaign of lawmakers from the region, dismissed criticism that the resignation was a "gimmick" and said they were identifying themselves with the people of Telangana, who want a separate state immediately.

"The Centre had on December 9, 2009 virtually announced a separate Telangana state. But it has not been implemented. We have been persuading them. Now, we are helpless before the people of Telangana," he told reporters.

Asked whether the MPs would withdraw their resignations, Rao said it could be reviewed if there was a "concrete assurance" from the Congress High Command on the issue within a time-frame.

The Congress has 50 MLAs from the region, while the TDP has 36 and TRS 11 in the 294-member Assembly. Congress has 155 seats in the House.

It said the action by the Congress MPs and MLAs shows that they have lost faith in their party leadership.

Four other ministers from Telangana, including Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, chose not to follow in the footsteps of their colleagues.

Only five ministers – Jana Reddy, J Geeta Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Komatireddi Venkat Reddy and Basavaraj Saraiah – came in person to the Assembly to submit their papers to the Deputy Speaker.

Saraiah carried the resignation letters of six of his colleagues to the Deputy Speaker.

"Our resignations are neither to defy the Congress high command nor to create political or constitutional crisis in the state. They are meant only to convey the strong aspirations of Telangana people to the Congress high command as well as the Government of India," senior minister K Jana Reddy told newsmen before leaving for New Delhi to confer with AICC leaders.

Centre counsels patience

As the contentious Telangana issue threatened to snowball into a major controversy, the Centre on Monday said it will try to expedite the consultation process to arrive at a consensus on the matter and counselled patience. As Congress lawmakers from Telangana stepped up pressure by tendering their resignation, Home Minister P Chidambaram said he did not think that any MLA should take such a step and expressed confidence of persuading them.

Ten Congress MPs and 39 of its MLAs, including 11 ministers, and 34 TDP MLAs from Telangana resigned from Parliament and Andhra Pradesh Assembly pressing for separate statehood for the region.

"I understand their impatience. But these are complex issues. We will try to expedite the consultations. We will try to take a final view. But these are extremely sensitive, complex issues therefore one has to show understanding and patience," Chidambaram said.

The Home Minister said the Central government will hold an all party meeting only when all parties were ready to give their views on the issue.

"There are at least two parties which are not ready with their views. Once I get an indication that they are ready to give a final view, immediately an all party meeting would be convened," he said.

Party sources said there was unlikely to be any immediate action on the resignations by the presiding officers.

Andhra on alert

Security has been stepped up in Andhra Pradesh, specially at the Osmania University campus - the nerve centre of separate statehood protests – and prohibitory orders placed in Hyderabad in view of the 48-hour bandh called by Telangana supporters on Tuesday.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation with some of his Cabinet colleagues and top police officials on Monday night.

Telangana political Joint Action Committee (JAC) has given the call to protest Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram's statements on the statehood issue.

Besides the bandh, other protest programmes included student rallies on July 7, rail blockade on July 8 and 9 and community kitchens on roads in all Telangana districts on July 10.

Prohibitory orders have been placed in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

In view of the bandh, the South Central Railway announced partial cancellation of MMTS train services (local trains) on the Secunderabad–Falaknuma sector from midnight to 12 pm on July 5 as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, BJP announced its support for creation of Telangana state and demanded that the Centre introduce a Bill in this regard in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament.

(JPN/ Agencies)