The dawn-to-dusk Statewide motor transport strike called on Tuesday by transport workers and taxi, auto-rickshaw drivers protesting the hike in prices of petrol and diesel turned into a virtual hartal in Alappuzha.

A majority of shops in the district headquarters and other prominent towns in the district remained shut till 6 p.m., causing inconvenience not just to the general public but to several foreign tourists who had arrived in the coastal tourist spot. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from the district headquarters when protestors forcibly shut shops that attempted to function.

At Valanjavazhi near Ambalapuzha, a tourist bus carrying engineering students from the Coimbatore Maharajas Engineering College to Thiruvananthapuram was attacked by protestors around 11 a.m. The agitators pelted the bus, which had 26 students, with stones, damaging the windshield and windows of the bus. The students, according to the police, escaped unhurt.

With shops remaining shut, tourists found it difficult to find even a bottle of water and some were seen hiking two-wheeler rides from the railway station and the KSRTC Bus depot. The State Water Transport Department, however functioned without hindrance, though passengers were very few.

The shops remained closed since the Left-leaning Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi was protesting the land acquisition for the expansion of the National Highway-47. The situation is likely to be the same on Wednesday, when the Highway Action Forum has called for a hartal for shops on either sides of the highway.

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