Tumkur, August 21: The ongoing anti-Telangana agitation in the Rayalseema parts of Andhra Pradesh has hit travel within the border district of Tumkur – between Pavagada and Tumkur towns – since the connecting road between the two passes through Andhra Pradesh.
Pavagada taluk, which is one of the most backward taluks in the State according to Dr. D.M. Nanjundappa committee report for redressal of regional imbalances in the State, is flanked by Andhra Pradesh on all four sides. People travelling between Tumkur and Pavagada have to travel 15 kilometres in Madakshira taluk of Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to reach Pavagada.
Due to the ongoing agitation by activists of Samaikyandhra in the border taluks of Andhra Pradesh, travellers between the two towns are facing a lot of hardship. The agitators are not allowing any vehicles – including KSRTC buses, private buses, four wheelers – to cross the Andhra Pradesh border.
The situation is particularly bad since Pavagada is dependent on Andhra Pradesh for vegetables, fruits, rice and other essential commodities from the taluks of Anantapur district, including Hindupur and Kalyandurg. Twenty-five per cent of the products come to Pavagada from Tumkur and Bangalore, and 75 per cent from Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh.
On the other hand, farmers who grow groundnuts and tamarind within Karnataka used to go to Hindupur to sell their agricultural produce. But now the farmers cannot go to Andhra Pradesh and groundnuts are being infected by fungus. Buyers from Hindupur also used to come to Pavagada to buy flowers in bulk.
President of the Pavagada Taluk Raitha Sangha G. Narasimha Murthy said, “Farmers who grew flowers were getting a good price, but now the rates have fallen and the flowers are withering on the plants.”
Kalpana Reddy, student, of Pavagada told The Hindu that she has not been able to attend coaching classes in Hindupur as there have been no buses for the last 20 days.
Councillor of Pavagada Town Muncipal Council Mahesh P.M. said, “Forty buses plying between Bangalore and Pavagada, and 25 buses plying between Andhra Pradesh and Pavagada have been cancelled due to Samaikyandhra agitations.”
A conductor of a private bus was assaulted by a group of agitators when the bus did not stop even after they asked the driver to stop the bus. Anjannappa, driver of private bus, said, “If we do not stop the bus, the agitators beat us up and damage our bus.” Many organisations of Pavagada, including Rashtriya Kisan Sangha, Bus Owners’ Association, Yuva Sangha, Pavagada Samagra Neeravari Horata Samiti and Rotary Club have called for a bandh on August 21 supporting Samaikyandhra agitation.