Today's Paper

Strike passes off peacefully in State

TOURISTS' DAY OUT: Tourists on a sightseeing expedition in Thiruvananthapuram on the general strike day on Thursday. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar (Another photo on Page 4)

TOURISTS' DAY OUT: Tourists on a sightseeing expedition in Thiruvananthapuram on the general strike day on Thursday. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar (Another photo on Page 4)  

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With shops and markets remaining closed and vehicles mostly staying off the road, the countrywide general strike called by central trade unions on Thursday was near total in Kerala.

Employees in Central and State Government offices and banking, insurance, telecom, posts and other sectors, teachers in State-owned and private schools and colleges and workers in various in Central and State public sector undertakings and utilities joined the strike in large numbers creating a `bandh-like' situation across the State. No untoward incident was reported from any part of Kerala and only a few two-wheelers were seen on the roads across the State.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation discontinued most of its services late on Wednesday night. The private motor transport sector also joined the strike overwhelmingly. As a result, lorries, taxi cars, autorikshaws and other means of public transport were not available in most parts of Kerala. Employees of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) too had joined the strike, but there was no disruption in power or water supply. The strike did not affect train services or operation of flights from airports in Kerala, though sections of employees in both the sectors had joined the strike.

The Trade Union Sponsoring Committee, spearheading the 24-hour strike, staged marches in all the districts. State general secretary of the CITU P. K. Gurudasan inaugurated the march in Thiruvananthapuram. State general secretary of the AITUC C. Divakaran and several others others spoke.

With a large number of employees joining the strike, major telephone exchanges, customer service centres, mobile phone service offices, sub- divisional offices and civil wing offices of Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) could not function. The BSNL Employees Union claimed that 95 per cent of the employees stayed from work. The BSNL employees held demonstrations at all district headquarters. Secretary of the BSNL Employees Union R. N. Pada Nair and State president P. V. Chandrasekharan led the march in Thiruvananthapuram.

The functioning of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), including clearing house activities, was disrupted with employees owing allegiance to the Reserve Bank Employees' Association joining the strike. The striking employees held a demonstration before the RBI office here. The NABARD Employees' Association said the entire employees of NABARD had taken part in the strike in Kerala and held a demonstration in the office premises.

The Association of Kerala Government College Teachers said the strike was total in Government colleges. The All Kerala Private College Teachers' Association said the strike was a big success in private colleges in the State. Joint Council of State Service Organisations general secretary C. R. Jose Prakash said the strike had brought the functioning of the Government offices to a halt.

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