Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strike will bring Bangalore to a standstill today

 BANGALORE: Normal life in Bangalore is likely to be crippled on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions in protest against the UPA government's policies. 

The disruption in Bangalore is likely to be severe on Day 1 of the strike in view of public transport workers, mainly BMTC drivers and conductors, resolving to keep off the roads. The BMTC ferries over 43 lakh Bangaloreans in 81,000 trips over 3,000 routes daily. 

About 1 lakh autorickshaw drivers and a section of cab drivers are, however, joining the strike on both days. 

In anticipation of movement within the city being hampered, schools and colleges have declared a holiday on Wednesday. They are yet to take a call on closing on Thursday. Bangalore University and ICSE have put off exams scheduled on the two days, while the Visvesvaraya Technological University is going ahead with its PG exams. 

Transport minister R Ashoka said the government's appeal to the transport workers not to take part in the strike has been in vain. Admitting that the workers' union has notified its intention to strike work, Ashoka warned public transport employees of stern action if they break the law. 

Namma Metro has said its services will run as usual. Taxis run by big private operators will operate. 

Financial transactions are certain to be hit with public sector banks expected to remain shut on both days. The Left trade unions, with their strong presence among banking employees, are confident the strike will be total in this sector. Large private banks, though, are expected to work normally. Banking executives expect the strike to have no impact on ATMs as their management is outsourced. 

Utilities like government hospitals are expected to function undisturbed. The Karnataka State Government Employees Association has said it is not taking part in strike. Petrol bunks and hotels too will remain open. 

The IT sector majors like Infosys do not foresee any impact on their employees' attendance as alternative transport arrangements are in place. 

Business and trade are unlikely to be closed but are certain to be impacted by the strike. Managements of malls said they would watch the situation on Wednesday before deciding whether their establishments should open or not. 

About 20,000 uniformed personnel will patrol the city on both days to ensure the rule of the law prevails. 

The strike has been called by the CITU, AITUC, INTUC, BMS and HMS to press for 10 demands, including checking the price spiral, generation of employment, halting of disinvestment in PSUs, and implementation of labour laws.


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