Kerala

General strike total in district, affects normal life

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Shops, establishments remain closed; public transport keep off road; trade unionists take out mammoth rally against Centre’s labour policies

The 24-hour general strike called by trade unions hit normal life in the district on Wednesday with public transport, including the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses, keeping off the roads and shops and establishments remaining shut for the better part of the day.

Barring a few incidents where private vehicles were blocked and shopkeepers asked to down shutters, the strike was incident-free in city and rural areas, the police said. Banks, schools and restaurants remained shut.

Special bus services for Sabarimala pilgrims aside, the KSRTC did not operate services from Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. “Ten buses conducted service from Thiruvananthapuram to Pampa. No other schedules were operated,” said Rajeev K.R., District Transport Officer, Thiruvananthapuram.

The police ran special services from the central railway station and bus station at Thampanoor to the Government Medical College Hospital, Regional Cancer Centre and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology.

Rail traffic, however, was not affected. All the trains ran as per schedule, a railway spokesperson said.

The strike brought trade to a standstill with shops and establishments, including the markets, remaining closed. A few shops, however, raised shutters towards the evening.

Low attendance

Almost all government offices wore a deserted look on Wednesday. Attendance at the Secretariat was almost nil except for the presence of a number of senior officers, K.R. Jyothilal, Principal Secretary, General Administration, said. The District Collectorate recorded extremely low attendance on the day, Deputy Collector Anu S. Nair, who is holding the charge of Additional District Magistrate, said.

The general strike paralysed Central government offices in the district, including India Post, Railway Mail Service, Income Tax and AG’s Office, P.V. Rajendran, State general secretary, Confederation of Central Government Employees’ and Workers, said.

The joint council of trade unions took out a mammoth protest against the anti-labour policies of the BJP-led Central government in front of the Secretariat. Trade union leaders, including Elamaram Karim and R. Chandrasekharan, addressed the meeting.

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre ran four convoys for transporting its staff to and from the office.

Banking sector

The strike in the banking sector was total. Banking staff owing allegiance to various unions, including the All India Bank Employees’ Association, All India Bank Officers’ Association, and Bank Employees Federation of India, participated in the strike. The staff of Reserve Bank of India took out a rally led by the Reserve Bank Employees’ Association and the Reserve Bank Workers’ Union. The Kerala State Pensioners’ Union also took out marches expressing solidarity with the strike.

The police made special arrangements for transporting 45 university students and teachers from Himachal Pradesh who were stranded in the city due to the strike. They had contacted the medical college police for help.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:03:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/general-strike-total-in-district-affects-normal-life/article30517651.ece

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