The bandh observed in the city on Tuesday in response to the call given by the Samaikhya Raashtra Parirakshana Vedika was near total and peaceful. Most of the shops downed their shutters voluntarily while a few traders, who chose to make a fast buck, were forced to close as protesters went around and sought their closure. Most of the shops and establishments in areas like Dwarakanagar, Jagadamba, Railway New Colony, Maddilapalem were closed voluntarily but those on the outskirts like Madhurawada remained open.
A banner was put up at CMR Central declaring closure on Tuesday due to the ‘Samaikyandhra bandh’. The INOX theatres were also closed. A vast majority of the autorickshaw drivers chose not to operate in view of the bandh but some of those who did were stopped by the protesters.
Some of the auto drivers operating from the Railway Station were seen demanding three to five times the normal fare. A ‘share auto’ driver demanded Rs.25 per person to the RTC Complex, which is hardly 2 km away.
The Ratnachal Express, which usually runs to packed capacity, was seen going literally empty in view of the bandh.
The roads wore a deserted look and the traffic police utilised the opportunity to get the zebra crossings and traffic markings at the busy Jagadamba junction re-painted. The State Bank of India Main Branch at Old Jail Road was forced to close by the Samaikhyandhra activists. Representatives of Gnanapuram Wholesale Vegetable Market, who came on motorcycles, converged at Jagadamba junction and staged a protest against bifurcation of the state.
Children utilised the deserted Main Roads at Suryabaugh to play cricket. Hoteliers participated in the bandh and many of the hotels were closed voluntarily. Industries in Autonagar were shut down in response to the plea of the Visakha Autonagar Small Scale Industrialists Welfare Association (VASSI) to observe the bandh.
RTC employees, under the aegis of NMU, blocked the highway near Maddilapalem for about an hour on Tuesday. NMU regional secretary Y. Srinivasa Rao said motorists, who were caught in the traffic, also raised slogans in support of ‘Samaikhyandhra’.
The NMU called for a bandh by private bus operators on September 25 and 26 in response to the call given by the Samaikya Raashtra Parirakshana Vedika.