Though normal life was affected here on Saturday by the 12-hour motor transport strike called by the Kerala State Motor Workers’ Co-ordination Committee to protest against the fuel price hike, the town was spared an ambience of total shutdown with private vehicles and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses on the roads and many shopkeepers choosing to open their shops.
The response to the call for the motor transport strike was total as public motor vehicles including private buses, taxi cars, autorickshaws and other commercial vehicles were off the roads causing inconvenience to commuters. The KSRTC operated its normal services from here, except in some areas where strike supporters stopped the buses from plying. KSRTC officials here said that bus services from here to Kasaragod were suspended after supporters of the motor vehicle strike stopped them at Kanhangad and Kalikkadavu in the Kasaragod district. The supporters also stopped KSRTC buses at Kudiyanmala and Alakkode in the eastern hill areas of the Kannur district, they said. However, the services in short distance routes were operated, they added.
Though majority of shops in the town chose to down their shutters, busy commercial parts of the town did not wear a totally deserted look as many shops remained opened. It was business as usual for vegetable and fish vendors in the market area here, though the strike affected their business. Textile shops here also remained open in anticipation of hectic Bakrid season sales. Most of the restaurants here, however, remained closed. The strike also hit the functioning of the government offices as the attendance was very low. Only 30 per cent of staff in the Collectorate turned up for duty here.
The police said that the strike was peaceful as no incident of the strike supporters stopping private vehicles was reported. Even in areas where the supporters stopped KSRTC buses, there was no incident involving attack on the vehicles, they said. The strike led to a hartal-like situation in the interior parts of the district.
The motor transport workers supporting the strike took out a demonstration here in the morning. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M.V. Jayarajan led the demonstration.