Kerala

General strike peaceful in Kottayam

A demonstration taken out by various trade unions in Kottayam town as part of a nationwide general strike on Wednesday

A demonstration taken out by various trade unions in Kottayam town as part of a nationwide general strike on Wednesday   | Photo Credit: JISHNU

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Public services remain stalled though there were no reports of violence

The 24-hour general strike called by trade unions hit normal life in Kottayam on Wednesday. However, the strike remained peaceful as no untoward incident was reported.

Majority of the shops and other commercial establishments remained closed during the day. Public transport came to a standstill. The most hit were train passengers, who were stranded at railway stations.

Two-wheelers could be seen on the road in large numbers. Schools and colleges remained closed. University examinations were postponed. The strike, which began from Tuesday midnight, did not affect the inter-State Sabarimala pilgrims, who reached Kottayam in trains. Vehicles of Sabarimala pilgrims were permitted a free passage though other private vehicles stayed off the road, fearing violence. According to District Transport Officer V.M. Abdul Nazar, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operated 50 services to Pampa and Erumely till 5 p.m. However, regular services could not be operated, as only four employees turned up at the Kottayam depot.

Hardship to travellers

Hotels and restaurants and even majority of roadside eateries remained closed, piling hardship on the travelling public.

Functioning of government offices and banks was almost completely disrupted, as majority of the staff members did not turn up for duty. The strike was almost total at Mahatama Gandhi University. The strike had only a partial impact in Erumely town, regarded as the gateway to Sabarimala. The hospitality industry remained unaffected, as the sector was excluded from the strike. According to K. Arun Kumar, secretary, Chamber of Vembanad Hotels and Resorts (CVHR), tourism-related activities were not hit by the strike.

Earlier in the day, trade unions took out processions in major towns in support of the strike. A calling-attention dharna and march organised under the aegis of the Bank Employees’ Federation of India (BEFI) at Thirunakkara in Kottayam was inaugurated by BEFI district president K.P. Sha. District Bank Employees Federation president K.R. Prasanna Kumar presided. Employees at the university took out a march on the campus, which was led by J. Lekha, president, MG University Employees Association, and others. The joint forum of trade unions also took out a march in Kottayam town.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:24:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/general-strike-peaceful-in-kottayam/article30517156.ece

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