Minor skirmishes reported in Muvattupuzha and Vypeen areas
The State-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in protest against the arrest of the party leader P. Jayarajan brought life to a grinding halt in the city and across the district.
While the hartal was complete no serious untoward incidents were reported from the district except for minor skirmishes in Muvattupuzha and Vypeen areas.
Activists supporting the hartal barged in to the Muvattupuzha taluk office at around 11.30 a.m. They broke a window pane each of the taluk office and the treasury. Shirt of an employee was torn in an attempt to manhandle him.
Vehicles were stopped by hartal supporters in many places in Vypeen. However, police intervened promptly and dispersed the activists. In another incident, a two-wheeler rider was stopped and the key of his motorcycle was thrown into water. Flex boards of a programme to be attended by a Minister of the Indian Union Muslim League and those of a UDF-ruled cooperative bank at Edavanakkad were destroyed.
Streets and roads wore a deserted look while all shops and establishments except for medical shops remained closed. Vehicle movement was sparse even for a hartal day. Two-wheelers were seen while majority of four-wheelers stayed off the roads.
Train services operated as usual. However, passengers reaching the city had a tough time. Since hotels remain closed many of them had to go without food.
The KSRTC services were disrupted while private buses stayed off roads completely. The KSRTC did not operate services except for two services to Kakkanad that were operated as convoy with the police escort. Services were resumed when the hartal ended at 6 p.m.
Holiday for schools
Offices registered very thin attendance while schools declared holiday. Out of the 167 employees in the District Collectorate, only 17 were present. Attendance was less than 25 per cent in majority of the offices in the civil station.
Fifty per cent attendance was registered at companies in Infopark Kochi campus. Many companies declared holiday with the rider to operate on Saturday. Four buses and numerous private cars and motorcycles carrying IT employees were operated in morning in convoy with police escort from Palarivattom. The buses were operated packed to capacity, Infopark sources said.
The Cochin Port Trust registered attendance between 56 and 60 per cent. While operations inside the port were not affected the same was not the case of operations outside the port premises, including container movements.
Operations at the Cochin Shipyard, where 68 per cent of the staff reported for duty, were nearly normal. Only a drop of 15 per cent in the attendance of workmen had slightly affected productivity. The FACT registered attendance of 59.50 per cent where almost all employees assigned for the shift turned up at the Kochi Refineries.