Holiday declared for schools, colleges; public transport to be hit severely
The two-day strike beginning on Wednesday, called by an umbrella of major Indian trade unions across sectors, is likely to be total, with the government declaring a holiday for government and government-aided schools and colleges in Bangalore and transport corporation employees joining in. Schools and colleges in most of the other districts too will remain closed.
A majority of private schools have gone a step further and declared a holiday on both days. All four road transport corporation buses will remain off the road from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since autorickshaw drivers’ unions have also joined the strike, public transport is likely to take a severe hit. Home Minister R. Ashok has appealed to the union to “not inconvenience commuters”.
All government offices may remain closed given that the major trade unions, including the Karnataka State Government Employees’ Association, are participating. The strike, coordinated by the Joint Committee of Central Trade Unions, has drawn participation from not just industrial workers and government servants but also workers employed in a range of activities — from anganwadis to beedi workers. The city’s substantial female workforce employed in the garment industry is likely to strike work.
Government hospitals are likely to work with skeletal staff. Ambulances, including the 108 Arogya Kavacha service, will ply and medical stores will remain open. On transport services, KSRTC Managing Director N. Manjunatha Prasad said “all employees are joining the strike”. Petroleum outlets will remain open, dealers said. IT companies have asked employees to work on both days, while some have given them the option of taking off and working on the weekend.
The prime demand of the unions, cutting across occupations, is that the government take immediate steps to check inflation. Among other demands are implementation of minimum wages for unorganised workers, a halt to PSU disinvestment, implementation of social security measures and employment creation. Apart from these general demands, individual unions have added their occupation-specific demands.
A significant proportion of the 13 lakh workers employed in large and medium industrial units in the State, and 14 lakh small scale unit are likely to participate, said S. Prasanna Kumar, general secretary, Karnataka State Committee, CITU
Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Gopalakrishna said that apart from senior officers at zonal and district levels, District Armed Reserve and Karnataka State Reserve Police platoons will also be deployed if necessary. The entire police force of about 17,000 would be on patrol.
Important examinations from the ISC XIIth board exam to Bangalore University’s postgraduate exams have been postponed. However, Visvesvaraya Technological University has not rescheduled its first semester M.Tech. examinations.