Special Correspondent

Patients and farmers are the worst hit as there was no transport facility throughout the district

Autorickshaws, taxis, school vans remain off the roads

Construction workers go without wages

MANGALORE: The bandh in Dakshina Kannada district was total on Thursday. Normal life was affected, as the all India bandh called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishat, evoked a good response.

According to sources, the bandh was total in most places, including Puttur, Sullia and Bantwal. However, it was not in Ullal as many shops were open and the normal life was not affected.

As the public transport came to a grinding halt, with autorickshaws, taxies and school vans also staying off the road, the city wore a deserted look till evening. At Thokkottu junction, a little distance away from the city, a number of people were seen waiting for transport to reach to their destinations at 8 a.m.

“I have to protect my beedis from moisture,” said Krishnappa, a contractor. He said the beedies worth about Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh had to be spread under the fans to save them from being damaged by the moist conditions. He had to reach Bolar, about 5-km away from Thokkuttu. “If we don not get a vehicle, we have to walk the distance,” he said. His friend and a beedi contractor, Sharath, was accompanying him.

Fisherman Devadas Uppala was stranded there along with his child Akhilesh. They were to reach a village near Manjeshwar. They had come here to get Akhilesh’s eyes tested by a specialist. They went to see a relative at Ullal on Wednesday night, not aware of the bandh of Thursday. Manjunath Dhundasi from Ranibennur was among a group of construction workers waiting to be picked up by some contractors. “We are not getting much work after the rains started here. Now, this bandh has added to our misery,” he said.

Although a majority of people stayed indoors, some were seen walking on the main roads, including the national highway from Thokkuttu to the city, as there was no transport facility and they, perhaps, had some urgent and unavoidable work to be completed. A group of carpenters, who were seen walking briskly near Moger, said that they had to cover another four kilometre to reach a house a attend an unfinished work there. “We cannot postpone it because we had promised to completed it today,” said G. Achyuta of Bjal, who heads the group. Vasanth was holding the hand of Donna, a physically and mentally challenged person, to make him walk as he had to get some medicines from Government Wenlock Hospital for the latter.

Two girls from Moger were worried that they did not get a bus to their high school near Bunts hostel. “The teacher has told us that attendance is compulsory today,” said Minazla, a ninth standard student. “If it is compulsory, should they not arrange transport as well?” she asked. However, realising that there was no bus service, they started to walking back to their houses.

The case with Gracy D’Soua, who wanted to send her child to Gerosa School, was no different.

People who wanted to go to hospitals were the worst hit. Vamana Palan (24), who was rushing his pregnant wife to the Lady Goschen hospital here, ran into trouble with some activists.

He told The Hindu that the activists stopped his cab at Permude and roughed up the driver. “We were allowed to proceed only after a lot of pleading,” he said. Taxi driver Kusappa Salyan (45) said: “They first slap and then ask questions.” Farmers coming to the city to sell their produce were also hard hit. Shivanna Hegegowda (50) was forced to sell his produce on the footpath near the Jyothi Circle as he came to know that the wholesale market was closed.

“I have come from a very remote village near Periyapatna. I did not know about the bandh,” he said.

Peaceful bandh in Udupi

Our Udupi Staff Correspondent reports: The bandh, called by the Hindu organisations on the Amarnath land issue, was near-total and peaceful in Udupi district on Thursday. The service and KSRTC bus-stands here wore deserted look as these buses remained off the roads. Construction workers were seen waiting for city buses at the City Bus-stand in the morning. After a while, they returned to their colonies.

Barring medical shops, business establishments, including petrol bunks, banks, educational institutions and milk booths, remained closed. Autorickshaws and some two-wheelers were plying in the city. “Sri Rama Sene”, a Hindu organisation, took out a procession in the morning. According to the Pre-University Education Department, 76 per cent of students appeared for the supplementary examination in the district, which was held on Thursday. As many as 211 students of the expected 850 did not turn up for the supplementary examination of English.

Sources at the Udupi District Police Control Room said that the bandh, rated at 90 per cent successful, was peaceful and no untoward incidents had been reported from any part of the district. Some business establishments started operating after 6 p.m., according to the police.

The KSRTC and private buses, destined to far off places such as Mumbai, started plying by evening, the sources said.