Buses plied as usual; shops, commercial establishments remained closed

Life remained near normal though shops and commercial establishments downed shutters. Operation of buses remained as usual as city residents woke up with doubt on Thursday in view of the Bharat Bandh call given by the Opposition parties in protest against Foreign Direct Investment in retail and hike in diesel prices.

With the Government announcing that schools would function as usual and examinations conducted as scheduled and a number of schools and colleges declaring a holiday on Thursday, parents were the most confused lot.

A majority of the shops remained closed. Even petty shops that opened for sale of newspapers too closed by 9 a.m. However, medical shops remained open. Cab operators kept off the road while call taxi operations remained normal.

Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation-run liquor shops remained open throughout the day and did brisk business.

With the Anna Thozhirsangha Peravai, a trade union affiliated to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam not taking part in the strike, the public transportation remained normal with over 90 per cent buses being operated. However, a section of the private bus operators kept their fleets off the road.

The city police had made elaborate security arrangements at sensitive areas to ensure normal life was not disrupted. Offices reported more than 88 per cent attendance. However, the police were on their toes, with the cadres of the CPI, CPI (M) and BJP attempting to stage road blockades and courting arrest. Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan led one of the agitations.

In Coimbatore city, the police removed 983 cadres including 119 women of various political parties at over nine places for attempting to block roads at Gandhipuram, Ganapathy, Flower Market and Aatupaalam. In Coimbatore rural district, more than 461 cadres including 50 women were removed by the police.

The bandh passed off peacefully with no stray incidents being reported.

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