Mixed response to strike in Dakshina Kannada district

DESERTED: A bus stand in Mangalore wears a deserted look on account of the strike on Thursday.

DESERTED: A bus stand in Mangalore wears a deserted look on account of the strike on Thursday.  

Life affected in Mangalore city as buses keep off roads

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: The all India general strike called by trade unions on Thursday evoked mixed response in Dakshina Kannada district, while it received good response in Mangalore city.

Life was affected in Mangalore as bus services were suspended at 7 a.m., after which schools and business establishments decided to close down. However, some schools functioned as they were holding examination and those students who turned up at school took the examination.

Students who could not make it will be allowed to take the same examination some other day, the schools have said.

Private banks and insurance companies functioned normally though the attendance was thin. Members of All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) demonstrated at the State Bank Circle opposite the State Bank of India office.

General Secretary of the AIBOC T.R. Bhat told The Hindu that over 95 per cent of the bank employees joined the strike and only the Congress and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh-backed employees did not take part in the strike.

The strike was total in the unorganised sector such as construction, transport, market functionaries, sanitary workers, engineering workers, hamals and coolie, dockworkers and fisheries. Construction activities came to a total halt and transport workers also did attend work.

Vehicles damaged

According to General Secretary of the Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners' Association Aziz Parthipady, three private buses were damaged by unruly mobs in Thokkuttu, Jeppinamogaru and Kankanady police station limits.

He said bus operators operated several routes in the morning, but after the incident of stoning of buses, they decided to withdraw the services.

According to Deputy Traffic Supervisor of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Vishwanath, all the 594 schedules of the KSRTC operated without any problem during the strike and there are no reports of any of its vehicles being stoned or detained.

The fish catch that had arrived in the docks was waiting for transport to pick them up, but after fish loaders, ice factory workers and tempo drivers did not appear, fish cooperatives arranged for transfer of the catch to various cold chains in the city.

However, fish market functionaries were able to sell fish at the central market and the other markets in the city.

General Secretary of the Motor Transport and Engineering Workers Union, affiliated to the Centre for Indian Trade Unions, Mohammad Rafi termed the strike as total.

President and general secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions Dakshina Kannada and Udupi District Committee K.R. Sriyan and Vasantha Achari respectively claimed that the strike was also total as engineering workers, construction workers, daily wage earners, beedi and cashew workers and autorickshaw drivers abstained from work. Convenor of the Dakshina Kannada District joint workers union committee B. Madhava accused the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre of taking several anti-labour decisions, including re-investment of pension funds and allowing multinational companies to enter the retail market.

These policies have created imbalance in the country's socio-economic condition, he said.

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