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Hartal peaceful in city

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THIN TRAFFIC: Private vehicles plied while buses and other public transport vehicles kept off the road on Thursday during the hartal called by the VHP and BJP. —
THIN TRAFFIC: Private vehicles plied while buses and other public transport vehicles kept off the road on Thursday during the hartal called by the VHP and BJP. —

Staff Reporter

Public transportation affected, private vehicles ply

KOCHI: The country-wide hartal called by the VHP-BJP combine was near-total and peaceful in the city. With public transportation out of gear, people reached their workplace sharing two-wheelers and cars. The usual bustle of the city was missing.

Only 40 per cent of the staff reported for work at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s bus stand here. However, officials said that long-distance buses to Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and other places were run. Services within the district like Muvattupuzha and to nearby places like Vaikom were less than usual.

With only a couple of shops around hospitals open, the hartal had affected the business activities in the city and its suburbs.

Hospitals had a thin trickle of patients. There were 365 patients registered in the Out Patient Department at the District General Hospital on Thursday, compared to the daily flow of over 1,000 patients. Five emergency surgeries were also held.

Dr. D. Radhakrishnan, the hospital superintendent said that there was adequate staff as the hospital makes arrangements for bringing in the staff and dropping them off in ambulances.

However, the District Medical Office had low attendance with about 40-45 per cent of staff turning up.

Among the public sectors that employ the largest groups of people, the FACT spokesman said that the functioning of the office was not affected.

In Cochin Shipyard Limited, 72 per cent of the staff had reported for work. It is mostly women who were not able to reach office due to lack of transport, said the public relations officer of the Shipyard.

The Cochin Port Trust had an attendance of 65 per cent of its employees.

Activities inside the port area were not affected, said the public relations officer. Loading and unloading work for ships that berthed here went about as usual, he added. The Collectorate had about 50-55 per cent staff attendance and the BSNL had about 50 per cent staff working on Thursday.

The IT industry had 90 per cent attendance in the companies at Info-Park.

The Wipro General Manager said that the usual attendance is about 95-96 per cent while on Thursday it was about 90 per cent.

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