Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government has asked Chief Secretary Pankaj Dwivedi to engage Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee (TEJAC) leaders in talks to end the ongoing strike that entered the 31st day on Thursday.

Members of the cabinet sub-committee on employee’s issues met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy here and discussed TEJAC demands.

TEJAC has demanded that the government immediately withdraw the Essential Services Maintenance Act enforced in certain departments as well the order of 'no-work, no-pay', besides withdrawal of all police cases booked against striking workers in the last 30 days and an inquiry into the police action against JAC president K Swami Goud.

But the main demand of the TEJAC is creation of Telangana state, for which they have been on an indefinite strike since September 13.

"Let them call off the strike first and come for discussions so that we can consider their demands," state ministers Danam Nagender and M Mukesh Goud, who were part of the Cabinet Sub-Committee, told reporters at the end of the meeting.

When pointed out that the JAC was not ready to attend any further talks with the government without their demands being conceded, they questioned, "How can a decision be taken without a discussion?" The Chief Minister reportedly told his cabinet colleagues that no cases were booked so far under ESMA, while GO 177 was being implemented on the directions of the High Court.

"We can't take any decision on our own on withdrawing GO 177. Police cases and other issues can be looked into later," a minister quoted the Chief Minister as saying.

Meanwhile, Danam appealed to the Telangana Joint Action Committee to postpone the rail-roko planned for October 15, 16 and 17 to some other date as the Group-2 services recruitment examinations were scheduled to be held in the state on 15 and 16.

"As many as two lakh candidates from Telangana districts are required to appear for the examinations. In their interests, the rail-roko agitation should be put off," the Labour Minister requested the JAC.

"When they could postpone the agitation to serve their political interest because of the bypoll in Banswada, why can't they put it off in the interest of lakhs of students," he questioned.

Meanwhile, talks held by Secondary Education Minister K Parthasarathy with managements of colleges, to get the educational institutes reopened, failed.

The managements remained adamant on their stand that they would continue with the strike till the demand for creation of Telangana state was conceded.

Parents urge CM to get schools re-opened

Anxious parents on Thursday requested Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to ensure that their wards' academic year was not spoiled in the wake of the Telangana strike.

A committee of parents' associations met Reddy here and complained about the prolonged closure of schools even after the Dusshera vacation, which ended on October 9, in the city and other parts of Telangana region.

All educational institutions should be kept out of the strikes. The students' careers should not be jeopardised, the worried parents told the Chief Minister.

Reddy assured the parents that government is taking steps to get the educational institutions re-opened.

Later, the committee members told reporters they request Telangana Joint Action Committee not to play with the careers of students.

"When bars, shopping malls, cinema halls and other establishments are doing their business without any hindrance, why are educational institutions being forced to shut down?" an angry parent questioned.

"We will wait till October 15 when the TJAC will meet to decide on the course of the ongoing general strike. If they don't let educational institutions function, we will sit and chalk out our course of action," a member said.

Meanwhile, despite assurance by police that adequate security would be provided to schools and colleges, majority of the institutions continued to extend their holidays.

SMSes are being sent to parents every night informing parents that schools or colleges would "remain closed tomorrow".

Threats from the Telangana-Joint Action Committee (TJAC) notwithstanding, some schools, however, have been functioning for the past two days.

Reacting to the threat issued to certain educational institutions by TJAC leader M Kodandaram, who himself is a professor, Additional DGP (Law and Order) Syed Anwarul Huda said, "If a school or college management approach us with complaints about such threatening calls, we will take action against the guilty as well as provide adequate security to the institute."

(Agencies)