OTHERS

General strike passes off peacefully

FULL THROATED PROTEST: Women activists of various unions in the city taking part in the general strike on Thursday raising slogans against the Central Government. - Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

FULL THROATED PROTEST: Women activists of various unions in the city taking part in the general strike on Thursday raising slogans against the Central Government. - Photo: S. Siva Saravanan  

Central Government offices paralysed; normal life unaffected; evokes good response in Tirupur

Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: The nation-wide general strike called by the Left trade unions against the economic policies of the UPA Government passed off peacefully in the district.

The functioning of Central Government establishments, Public Sector Undertakings, Banks and Insurance sectors remained totally paralysed with very thin attendance. However, normal life remained unaffected with public transportation system remaining normal and shops remaining open throughout the day. At 23 places in the district, the police removed more than 2,660 activists who staged demonstrations protesting against privatisation.

The day began on a brisk note with close to 98 per cent of the TNSTC buses turning out on the roads. As the day progressed, the impact of the strike was felt visibly at all Central Government offices and especially in banks and insurance firms.

The major setback to normal life came only from the autorickshaws since CITU and AITUC members dominated the industry. The police sources maintained that only 71 per cent of the autorickshaws plied on roads, while the rest owing affiliation to CITU, AITUC unions kept off the road.

Unprecedented security

Unprecedented security cover was made in busy commercial areas, bus stands and railway stations besides bringing Government offices and vital installations under armed security cover.

The police maintained essential services without even a minor hitch at most of the places. While the Airports Authority of India (AAI) maintained normal services with the available attendance, the Air Force had provided 20 of its personnel to remain on standby for running the fire-fighting unit in the event of a contingency.

The Airport Authority of India Employees Union (AAEU), Branch Secretary R. Rajasekhar said that of the 104 staff more than 90 took part in the strike.

Anticipating the strike to be a success in the trade union dominated State of Kerala, as a matter of abundant precaution, the TNSTC withdrew all its 23 buses to Palakkad, Thrissur, Guruvayoor, Pallasena, Munnar and Thattamangalam. The Coimbatore - Palakkad Road had roadblocks along the border and tense moments prevailed on the other side. The Central Government establishments reported 65 per cent abstention and State Government offices reported 16 per cent abstention. In respect of the sector wise attendance, Banks, Insurance and Income Tax offices sported very thin attendance. Of the 4,000 bank employees in the City only 3,800 turned up for duty registering a meagre two per cent turn-out and of the 1,200 insurance firm employees only 200 of them turned up for work in the city.

The attendance in banks and insurance firms in rural areas remained far worse.

In the State Government offices of the 5,100 employees 2,220 abstained from work. In the postal department, of the 850 employees, only 110 of them reported for work. Private sector and textile mills had only 250 abstaining from work out of the 9,400 member strong workforce.

Of the 1,200 strong workforce in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, 180 abstained from work. About 80 per cent of broiler bird movement to Kerala from the district was affected by the strike.

Bomb hoax

The Regional Transport office on Dr. Balasundaram Road received an anonymous call stating that a bomb had been planted inside the office and it would go off at 12 noon.

The call was traced to a public phone booth in Ganapathy area and a thorough check by the bomb squad proved the call to be a hoax. Following the commotion, the work at RTO office was affected in the forenoon.

Holiday declared

Tirupur Staff Reporter adds:

The strike evoked good response in the knitwear town of Tirupur, as majority of the hosiery units and trade houses remain closed.

While most of the industrial houses declared holiday to its workers, only a few dyeing and export houses functioned.

The State Government offices, schools functioned as usual. Traffic was not affected, as private and State-owned buses were operated.

However, normal works were affected in Central Government offices.

More than 1,200 activists were court arrested in Tirupur, Mangalam, Avanashi and Perumanallur and Anupparpalayam when they attempted to picket. In Udumalpet and Madathukulam over 300 workers were court arrested and all of them were released later.

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