Buses, lorries keep off the roads; business establishments close shutters; thin attendance in offices
SALEM: As members of Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) observed a fast on the Sethusamudhram Project issue here on Monday, the normal life in Salem and Namakkal districts paralysed with a majority of the people prefer to remain indoors and shops and business establishments close shutters.
Not a single incident of violence was reported from any parts in these two districts. Fasts were organised at 27 places in Salem district.
At Salem, MLA Veerapandi S. Raja (DMK), Salem MP K. V. Thankgabalu (Congress), R. Arul (PMK), M. B. Kader Hussain (IUML), M. Rajagopal (CPI-M), A. Jeevanandam (CPI), A. Varadarajan (INTUC-Transport) and others observed the fast. At Namakkal DMK secretary Gandhiselvan led the fast.
Though there had been no official call for a bandh, as announced earlier, after the Apex Court’s stay, the towns and villages in these two districts however wore a deserted look.
Barring educational institutions, banks and Government offices, which functioned with thin attendance, almost all shops and business establishments remained closed in Salem and Namakkal towns and in various taluk towns in these two districts.
No one has forced us to close down our shops. We also have not asked any one of our members either to close or open.
They voluntarily came forward to close their establishments, said A. Jeyaseelan, General Secretary, Salem City Chamber of Commerce here.
But Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation could not operate long distance buses in the morning due to poor turn out of the crew.
As major trade unions joined the fast, we were not able to operate the entire fleet, pointed out a senior transport official. However, skeleton services were maintained with police protection.
Later, in the afternoon the services had been restored gradually.
A majority of lorry operators also preferred to defer their bookings for the day till late afternoon. Their association had already announced that lorries would not ply on October 1. But we have not given any specific instructions either to operate or cancel the movement of freight after the stay, said a senior office-bearer of the Salem District Lorry Owners Association. But a few lorries from outside the state were operated.
Aavin milk parlours and booths, tea and petty shops, hotels and a few commercial establishments however ran their business as usual without any hindrance.
A few auto rickshaws could be seen plying in the deserted roads of Salem and Namakkal towns.
The train movement in Salem Railway Division was not affected with passengers thronging the Salem Junction in the absence of buses.