Kerala

Strike puts normal life on hold for 24 hours in State

Youngsters play cricket at the deserted Chala vegetable market in Thiruvananthapuram during the national strike called by trade unions on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

The 24-hour nationwide general strike from Wednesday midnight in response to a call given by a joint committee of 10 Central trade unions was near total in the State. The strike call was given by all major trade unions, except the BMS, in protest against the Centre’s policies, including new labour and farm laws and privatisation of public sector units.

Shops, barring those providing essential services, and business and commercial establishments remained closed. No untoward incident was reported.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses were off the road. However, two hospital services from Ernakulam, services to Pampa from Chengannur, and chain services in the Nilackal-Pampa-Nilackal sector plied.

Private buses, taxies, and autorickshaws did not operate. But, private vehicles, especially four-wheelers and motorcycles, were seen on roads. Train and Kochi metro services functioned as usual.

Exams postponed

The functioning of the Secretariat was affected as only heads of departments turned up. Employees of Central and State government offices, banks, and insurance sector offices kept away. Universities had postponed all examinations scheduled for the day.

Barring a few in certain pockets, almost all shops in the State capital remained closed. The City police arranged transportation for those who arrived in trains for medical care.

In Kochi, markets remained closed, while activities at the port came to a standstill. The otherwise busy commercial streets at Palayam and Valiyangadi in Kozhikode were almost deserted. However, by afternoon, provisions stores, supermarkets, and some hotels opened.

In Kollam, the three head post offices in the district did not function. The Railway Mail Service was affected as very few employees turned up for work. The strike affected cashew, fisheries and plantation sectors.

Food supply from jail

In Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram, the food supplied by the Central Jail turned out to be a huge relief for migrant workers and those dependent on hotels.

In view of the local body elections, the trade unions had exempted the activities of the State Election Commission from the strike. The distribution of ballot papers from government presses to local self-government institutions went on smoothly.

The trade unions did not organise mass rallies because of the pandemic and restricted the protest to corner meetings.

CITU State president Anathalavattom Anandan inaugurated the State-level protest meet in Gandhi Park here. A chain dharna was organised on the Ernakulam Town Hall-Menaka street.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 12:53:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/strike-puts-normal-life-on-hold-for-24-hours-in-state/article33188601.ece

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