Many parts of Andhra Pradesh remained without electricity for the third day as the electricity employees continued their indefinite strike to protest the centre's decision to divide the state.
The state machinery continued to be paralysed while government-run schools remained shut as over six lakh government employees and teachers in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) continued their strike, which began Aug 12.
Buses of state-owned road transport corporation also remained off the roads for nearly two months now.
Protests against the decision to carve out separate Telangana state continued in Seemandhra. Protestors including employees and students staged protests outside the offices of the central government and banks.
They also tried to lay siege to the residences of central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators, demanding their resignations to keep the state united.
In Vizianagaram town in north coastal Andhra, curfew continued for the fourth day. Curfew was relaxed for one hour in the morning, during which no untoward incident was reported.
Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu continued his hunger strike in Delhi for the second day. He is demanding the central government to hold talks with the leaders of all regions of the state to find an amicable solution.
Opposing the state's division, YSR Congress party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy's hunger strike in Hyderabad entered the fourth day.
In Delhi, Congress general secretary incharge of party affairs in the state, Digvijaya Singh released to media letters written by both TDP and YSR Congress, supporting the formation of Telangana state.
About 30,000 employees in all 13 districts of Seemandhra stayed away from work, almost paralysing electricity generation and transmission.
The strike has plunged several towns and hundreds of villages in darkness, causing severe hardships to patients in hospitals, affecting the drinking and irrigation water supply, leading to cancellation of trains and disrupting Internet and ATM services.
Hundreds of industries have also shut down production.
People have lost contact with the outside world as their mobile phones ran out of power. In many towns, people were not even able to draw money from ATMs.
The talks between electricity employees' Joint Action Committee (JAC) and top officials in Hyderabad remained inconclusive. The government appealed to employees to return to work in view of the hardships being caused to people. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has called for JAC leaders for talks Tuesday evening.
The strike has brought to standstill generation in all major power plants in Seemandhra. The strike is also having its impact in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana with authorities imposing power cuts to tide over the shortage.
The state has a demand of 11,000 MW, but only 7,200 MW is being supplied. According to officials of Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation (AP Genco), generation of 3,870 MW has come to a halt.
Railways cancelled all trains between Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. Trains from Visakhapatnam to Odisha and Chhattisgarh have also been cancelled.
Ahead of their talks with the chief minister scheduled for Wednesday, leaders of government employees said they would continue the strike unless the central government gives a clear assurance that the state will not be divided.
"After the talks with the chief minister, we will announce our future course of action," said P. Ashok Babu, president, Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers' Association.
Digvijaya Singh however reiterated that the decision was taken after consultation with all parties and ruled out going back on it. He appealed to Seemandhra employees to call off their strike and assured that the concerns of Seemandhra people would be addressed.