Kochi

General strike by trade unions total and peaceful in district

Shutdown: Broadway, the heart of retail and wholesale business in Kochi, remains deserted on account of the general strike on Wednesday.

Shutdown: Broadway, the heart of retail and wholesale business in Kochi, remains deserted on account of the general strike on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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KSRTC operates Pampa services; Kochi metro unaffected; minor skirmishes over opening of shops; low attendance reported at Govt. offices

The nationwide strike called by trade unions was total in the district, with public transport largely remaining off the road, shops, business establishments, and educational institutions being closed, and Government offices reporting abysmally low attendance.

The joint coordination committee of trade unions took out a protest march from Town Hall to Kaloor at 9 a.m. Besides, protest marches and meetings were held at 24 places across the district.

KSRTC restricted operations to Pampa services from South railway station with the sparse staff that turned up for duty. Over 70 services were operated for passengers reaching the railway station, while the depot in Ernakulam wore a deserted look, said Thajudheen Shahib, District Transport Officer, Ernakulam.

Private buses remained off the road.

Train services were more or less unaffected, with most trains operating on time. A few autorickshaws operated from the pre-paid stand at the railway station, said T.S. Gopakumar, Assistant Commissioner, Railway Protection Force, Ernakulam.

K. Laljy, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam, said the city police had deployed vehicles for circular trips for rail passengers.

Not even a single boat service was operated as a majority of workers had joined the strike, said M. Sujith, traffic superintendent, State Water Transport Department, Ernakulam.

The Kochi metro operated services as usual between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, the ridership was very low with just over 37,000 people travelling till 9 p.m.

The otherwise buzzing Ernakulam market wore a deserted look. “With workers striking and cargo vehicles remaining off the road, there was no way the market could have operated,” said K.K. Ashraf, secretary, Ernakulam Market Stall Owners Association.

Mohammed Sageer, president, Kerala Steel Traders Association, said notwithstanding the declaration by a section of traders to not cooperate with the strike, almost all shops and business establishments in the district remained closed as the strike was backed by all trade unions.

Of the 70-odd offices and around 2,500 employees, just a handful of offices operated albeit with an abysmally low attendance.

Operations at Infopark remained largely unaffected.

The strike was more or less peacefulexcept for a few minor skirmishes between protesters and shop owners over opening of shops. Two cases were registered in Kunnathunadu. In the first case registered by the police, a 70-year-old merchant, Poulose Kurian, was injured when hartal supporters forcibly shut his shop.

In another incident, a restaurant owner sustained a concussion as his hand got jammed between the doors when protesters made him shut his eatery.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 9:19:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/general-strike-by-trade-unions-total-and-peaceful-in-district/article30518082.ece

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