Near-total shutdown in commercial areas of city

Life was affected in Mysore on Wednesday, the first day of the nationwide strike called by various trade unions against price rise and the “anti-people” policies of the Centre.

While the impact of the strike was near-total in the main commercial areas of the city, the response was mixed in residential areas as many retail shops remained open.

However, the strike evoked a total response from the industrial, banking and insurance sectors in Mysore and Nanjangud.

Schools and colleges were closed, and most government offices functioned with reduced strength.

Public transport affected

Public transport was affected as the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) withdrew its services. Private buses, taxis and autorickshaws operated.

Most shops in the main business centres of the city, including D. Devaraj Urs Road, Sayyaji Rao Road, Ashoka Road, Santhepet, Dhanavantri Road and surrounding areas, remained closed. Activists ensured that shopkeepers closed the few outlets that were open. Both city and suburban bus-stands in Mysore wore a deserted look.Train services were not affected.

In industrial areas

In the Mysore industrial area, major industrial units in both the private and public sectors such as Bhoruka Aluminum, Triveni Engineering, Falcon Tyres, JK Tyres, Ganesh Gears, Automotive Axles, BEML, Rane Madras, San Engineering and Rangsons Electronics were closed for the day, according to Suresh Kumar Jain, general secretary, Mysore Industries Association.

A section of workers took out a motorcycle rally around the industrial area and mobilised support for the strike, he said.

In Nanjangud industrial area, which has about 70 major and medium industries, nearly 20,000 workers struck work and staged a dharna against the “anti-people policies” of the government. Mr. Ramprasad of the Nanjangud Industries Association said the strike was total and peaceful and that managements had declared a holiday on Wednesday.

Banking sector

The response to the strike from the banking and insurance sector was total. All branches were shut.

R. Raghavendra, secretary, Karnataka Pradesh Bank Employees’ Federation, told The Hindu that nearly 1,000 bank employees of various public sector banks staged a demonstration outside the State Bank of Mysore main branch and at the zonal office, while over 3,000 bank staff, including officers and clerks, abstained from work throughout the district. The strike was supported by employees of all cooperative and regional rural banks as well as more than 1,000 employees in the Life Insurance Corporation of India and general insurance companies.

Mr. Raghavendra said the bank employees were not only supporting the 10-point charter of demands by the trade unions but were also seeking an end to the ongoing practice of outsourcing banking jobs.

They also expressed their resentment against the ongoing reforms in the banking sector which will ease mergers and facilitate the entry of private capital into banking sector. They also sought early resolution of issues such as wage revision and appointment on compassionate grounds.

Mr. Raghavendra said that the nearly 600 ATMs in the city had been replenished, therefore the public would not be inconvenienced owing to the strike. However, normality with regard to clearing of cheques would take a couple of days, he said.

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