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Strike disrupts life for CFCA families in India

February 24, 2011

HYDERABAD, India — A strike Feb. 22-23 affected the entire Telangana region in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The state includes the capital of Hyderabad, a city of about 4 million residents and the sixth most populous city in India. CFCA-Hyderabad serves about 11,000 children, youth and aging members in the region.

Strike in India at Osmania University
Police and students gather at Osmania University in Andhra Pradesh,
India, during the strike.

"Schools, colleges, shops, factories and other commercial establishments remained closed and public buses halted as several workers’ unions supporting the formation of a Telangana state participated in the shutdown," said Sreekanth Gundoji from the CFCA communications center in Hyderabad. "Even private cars and transport vehicles were not allowed on the roads through the day."

The shutdown affects poor families disproportionately because they have no way to buy food or get to work. Families in poverty do not stock food and other essential commodities that can tide them over until the strike ends and shops reopen.

"Many sponsored families depend on their daily wages to take care of the family," CFCA-Hyderabad Coordinator Suresh Singareddy said. "Their inability to go to work deprives them of income that is needed for their daily survival."

Children reading during strike in India
From left, sponsored children Archana, Manisha and
Anush read school lessons in front of their house
because schools are closed during the strike.

Narshimulu, the father of a child sponsored through CFCA, drives a taxi. He pays 300-400 rupees ($7-$9) a day on the loan he took to buy the car.

When he does not operate the taxi, he gets no income and can’t repay his loan.

"Paying small amounts every day is easy," Narshimulu said, "but paying the amount owed for several days is difficult. I look forward to getting income on a day-to-day basis to feed my family and repay the loan on time."

Schoolchildren have also been affected.

"Children are not able to go to school since the schools are closed during the [strike]," Singareddy said. "This year, children lost lots of classes and they find it hard to cope with the exam pressure. ... The academic performance of the children is affected when the [strikes] turn out to be frequent."

The Hyderabad staff is working with families in the area to cope with the effects of the strike.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), an organization of political parties, unions, organizations and student leaders, called the strike to pressure the government to form a new Telangana state.

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