Wednesday, January 9, 2019

THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE Our Bureau Updated on January 08, 2019

A hartal-like condition was witnessed in Kerala on Tuesday, the first day of the two-day country-wide strike called by trade unions, as almost all modes of public transport remained paralysed.

Given the spate of violence that was seen during a hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi on January 3, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and private operators did not operate their fleet.

Train blockade

Neither the High Court order on Monday banning ‘flash’ hartals nor the State government’s planned Ordinance against destruction of public property deter protesters and striking workers, as they took out their ire on public transport. Normally, train services are spared during most hartals days. But Tuesday was an exception as the protesters blocked morning trains originating from the State’s capital, including the Venad Express (Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur); the Rapti Sagar Express (Thiruvananthapuram-Gorakhpur); and the Jan Satabdi Express (Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode).

The Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram Mail was blocked at Thripunithura (Ernakulam). The trains resumed their journey after the activists were arrested by the police.

Trade unionists extended the blockade to other parts of the State as the day wore on. This is despite assurances to the contrary given out by their leaders the previous day.

Traders defy call

Meanwhile, traders carried on with their business at many places in the State in an act of defiance .

The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti, the largest organisation representing merchants, had said it will not cooperate with such forced shutdowns.

Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ employees of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) joined the strike at the call of the All India Nabard Employees’Association, Jose T Abraham, Secretary, said here.

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