Train services in the State were disrupted and are running 30-65 minutes late on Tuesday on account of the picketing by the LDF activists in support of the nation-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by 13 Opposition parties to protest against the price rise.
The bus services of the state-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation are also not plying since the hartal began at 6 a.m. Only the stay services of Attingal and Kattakada depots in the capital district operated. No untoward incident had been reported.
A KSRTC official said the services could not be operated as per schedule due to poor turnout of the drivers and conductors. “We will operate services with police protection once the staff arrive. Instructions had been given to this effect, he added.
The arrival and departure of the trains had been delayed on account of the picketing in Parasala, Thiruvananthapuram. Varkala, Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam railway stations, a railway official said. Several trains were held up on account of the picketing that commenced after 6 a.m.
In Thiruvananthapuram Central, the agitators picketed the Thiruvanathapuram-Kozhikode Jan Shatabdi Express that was to depart from here at 6 a.m. The train finally left from here after a delay of 65 minutes.
However, the Parasuram Express bound for Mangalore was able to depart from here at 6.30 a.m. But, the train got stranded in Varkala due to picketing. The railways had to cancel some passenger trains, including the Kollam Passenger, on account of the stir.
Long distance commuters staying in the suburbs and far-flung areas and who had to proceed in mail and express trains later in the day were seen in the station before the hartal commenced. Those who arrived in the station in the trains were also stranded as autorickshaws and taxies are not plying. Many had to depend on two-wheelers.
Air and rail services were hit and normal life disrupted in the city and elsewhere in West Bengal as the 12-hour nationwide strike called by Left and some other non-BJP opposition parties to protest Centre’s “failure” to check price rise got underway.
Two train passengers were injured as a clash broke out between the passengers of Ganga Sagar Express and bandh supporters at Pandua station in Hoogly district this morning.
Abdul Razzak and Shanti Devi were injured when they along with other passengers tried to stop bandh supporters from stopping the train and putting up a banner.
The bandh shut businesses and disrupted transport services by road, rail and flight operations. Metro railways spokesperson said their services were normal.
Airport sources said ten out of 25 domestic and international flights took off this morning. While fights of Air-India, Jet Airways and Jetlite took off as scheduled in the morning, services of other private airlines were badly hit with many passengers stranded at the airport.
CPI(M)’s workers’s union CITU affiliated-Airports Authority of India Employees Union office-bearers had said that they would impose strike in the airport.
Eastern Railway spokesperson told PTI that due obstructions put up by bandh supporters at several stations, train services were disrupted at Howrah and Sealdah division.
Long-distance trains were stranded at various stations as bandh supporters sat on the railway tracks.
The streets in Kolkata wore a deserted look with state-run buses, private vehicles, taxis, auto-rickshaws remaining off the road since 6 am as the bandh began. Shops and educational institutions were closed, officials said.
Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said the bandh has been a spontaneous protest against price rise.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee said the Left Front government itself had failed to control price rise and take action against hoarding and black marketing in the state.
State Transport Minister Ranjit Kundu said buses and trams would run if drivers and conductors report for duty. “I cannot give any assurance. It depends on the employees and do not feel any extra arrangement needs to be made,” he said.
The SUCI(C), a Left opposition in West Bengal and Trinamool Congress poll-partner, has called a 24-hour nationwide bandh today.
Trinamool Congress, Congress and BJP have opposed the bandh.