Banks, business establishments, industrial units at Edayar, Eloor and other areas, Cochin Special Economic Zone, the working of the district collectorate and civil station and rail traffic have been hit by the 24-hour general strike called by trade unions across India from Monday midnight.

Kochi's streets are near-empty, business outlets are closed and busy traffic junctions in the city eased of traffic. Rallies by protesting workers are converging on major junctions and trade union leaders are addressing the workers.

At Vyttila, otherwise Kerala's busiest traffic intersection, a few private vehicles were seen on road as a large posse of policemen escorted a mammoth rally by activists of the Centre of Indian Trade Union. They converged on the junction to hold a meeting.

The usually busy Palarivattam, Edappally, Edappally Toll and Maradu-Kundannoor junctions saw much thinned down traffic. Private vehicles, mostly two-wheelers, passenger cars and a few autorickshaws, were on the road.

A group of employees of a private bank was seen holding a protest meeting beofre their branch office on NH 47. A petrol pump, near Edappally, was selling fuel in bottles and plastic containers without letting vehicles into the premises of the outlet.

Traffic junctions are well-manned by security personnel and police patrol vehicles are seen frequently on the arterial roads. NH 47, linking the south and north ends of the city, is seeing much more traffic than the roads within the city.

Broadway and MG Road, where most of the retail trade takes place in Kochi, are virtually empty. There is no business being done at the vegetables and fish markets close to Broadway. The Mattancherry spices, pulses and grains markets are closed for the day.

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