Bandh total, peaceful in city

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Caught unawares: With buses off the road in view of the bandh, travellers return disappointed at Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada on Friday.
Caught unawares: With buses off the road in view of the bandh, travellers return disappointed at Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada on Friday.

Staff Reporter

Activists of CPI, CPI(M) and TDP stop Chennai-bound Pinakini Express

Agitators do not spare even eateries and tea stalls

Telugu Yuvatha activists stage protest at railway booking counter

VIJAYAWADA: The call for a bandh given by the Left parties and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to protest against the hike in the prices of petroleum products was total and peaceful in the city on Friday.

Activists of the Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI (M) and the TDP staged rasta-roko in different parts of the city, besides stopping all modes of transport and forcing commercial establishments to down their shutters.

The day began with a rail-roko at the railway station, where the activists stopped the Chennai-bound Pinakini Express for over half an hour. Holding the flags of their respective parties and raising slogans against the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products and essential commodities, the activists later moved towards Pandit Nehru Bus Station and prevented the drivers from taking the buses out of the workshop. They advised the commuters waiting for buses not to wait any longer. Since the State Government had already announced that the hike in the price of cooking gas cylinder would be absorbed by it, the activists mainly focused on the price hike of petrol and diesel.

From the bus station, the activists branched out in groups and began visiting busy roads and centres in the city to check whether any trader was trying to open his shop. Except medical shops and a few corporate educational institutions, all shops and establishments remained closed till evening. The agitating activists did not spare even eateries and tea stalls, asking the petty vendors to suspend their business for the day. Roads wore a deserted look, as there was no movement of city buses and auto-rickshaws. Though a few auto-rickshaw drivers tried to make a fast buck by ferrying people, their efforts proved futile.

Despite pleadings by the drivers and the commuters, the activists did not allow the three-wheelers to move on the roads. On Mahatma Gandhi Road and Karl Marx Road, the activists stopped the auto-rickshaws and forced the commutes to get down, before taking the drivers along with them.

Besides the activists, the police and the armed reserve guards too occupied the road by moving in groups. There was patrolling throughout the day at all major centres. The police parties took positions early in the morning, while the armed reserved guards took over ever-busy areas like Mahatma Gandhi Road and Besant Road.

The city buses began moving on the roads in the evening, when a few traders opened their establishments.

Partial response

GUNTUR: The bandh call given by the opposition parties, TDP and CPM on Friday evoked a partial response in the city and parts of the district. Commercial establishments were closed till afternoon but were reopened in the evening, cinema theatres cancelled morning shows and rail and rasta-rokos were staged in the city.

In Guntur, district leaders of the TDP and the CPI(M) staged a rasta-roko at the Sankar Vilas Centre blocking the traffic for about an hour. TDP district unit president Prathipati Pulla Rao, CPI(M) president D. Rama Devi and CPI’s Muppala Nageswara Rao led their supporters in staging a dharna expressing solidarity with the bandh call.

Groups of motorcycle-driving Telugu Yuavata led by district president Bosaboyina Srinivas forced many shop-owners to close their shutters. There was a mild commotion on the railway station premises after the RPF personnel took off the plug pins of the motorcycles parked in front of the booking. Party activists staged a sit-in protest until the plug pins were returned to them.

At Tenali, supporters of former MLA Gogineni Uma took to the streets and forced commercial establishments to down their shutters. There was partial response to the bandh call in Bapatla, Narasaraopet and other towns in the district.



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