The dawn-to-dusk state-wide strike, by motor transport workers and taxi and autorickshaw drivers to protest against the hike in the price of petrol and diesel, that began at 6 a.m. on Tuesday has hit the public transport services in Kerala.

Private buses, taxies, autorickshaws, lorries and mini-lorries have kept out of the road since morning in response to the strike call by the KSRT Employees association, private bus workers unions and the joint coordination committee of the taxi and autorickshaw unions. The CPI(M), other left parties, BJP, INTUC and other organisations are supporting the strike.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation's effort to operate the long distance services had not been fully successful as protestors are blocking the buses at many bus stations in the state. Around 20 per cent of the KSRTC staff are not participating in the strike. KSRTC sources said police protection had been sought to operate the services on convoy basis.

In Kattakada, the tyres of four KSRTC buses were deflated by the agitationists. Those who obstructed the KSRTC buses were arrested by the police from Pathanamthitta, Venjaramood, Thiruvananthapuram Central and Palode.The city services of the KSRTC in the capital are also not operating due to lack of staff and protest from the agitationists, the control said.

In the southern districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta, private cars and two-wheelers are plying. Those who arrived in long distance trains at Thiruvananthapuram central station and by flights in Thiruvananthapuram international airport after the strike began had been stranded.

Educational institutions are remaining closed. The annual examinations in the schools scheduled for Tuesday and the University examinations had been postponed in view of the strike.Traders are keeping the shops closed across the state and supporting the strike demanding roll back in the price of petroleum products.

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