Shops remained closed in Kozhikode city since staff could not report for work

The dawn-to-dusk strike called by a joint action council of motor workers to protest against the increase in petrol price passed off without major incidents, but led to thin attendance in government and private institutions and a sharp decline in sales in shops on Friday.

Travellers arriving in the city had a tough time finding conveyance to reach their destinations. Many had to depend for lifts on police officials, friendly owners of private cars, and some groups of sporting youngsters since taxis and autorickshaws were off the road.

Private buses stayed off the roads. Long-distance travellers got stranded at private bus stands. Even the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation could not operate its services until the strike ended at 6 p.m. The KSRTC authorities also blamed staff shortage for suspension of services. Many shops too remained closed for the same reason.

Surprisingly, many petrol bunks in the city also remained closed during the strike period. But a petrol station manager denied being part of the strike. He said that some bunks were closed because there was not enough staff to run them. Many employees could not reach the workplace since no transport was available, he added.

Movement of two-wheelers and private cars was not affected by the strike. Traffic to the airport was also smooth.

Anticipating drop in business, hotels too did not open.

Minor incidents

A Correspondent writes from Wayanad: The motor vehicle strike called by transport workers' unions hit normal life in Wayanad district on Friday.

The strike was total and peaceful, barring some minor incidents, J. Jayanath, Superintendent of Police, said. Seven supporters of the strike were arrested at Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal in the morning when they tried to block vehicular traffic in those towns, he added.

Taxis and auto rickshaws remained off the road. A number of private cars and jeeps and a large number of two-wheelers were seen plying. While private buses kept off the road, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses operated three trips from its Kozhikode depot to Sulthan Bathery and one trip from the Sulthan Bathery depot to Bangalore in the morning with the help of police convoys. 

The strike caused inconvenience to the public as it affected the functioning of government offices and educational institutions. Shops and commercial establishments, except medical shops, remained closed. Attendance was low in government offices. As many as 48 of the 148 employees turned up for duty at the Collectorate here, Additional Divisional Magistrate B. Abdulnazar said.