TAMIL NADU

General strike hits normal life in city

unusual: The Integrated Bus Stand at Maatuthavani in Madurai wears a deserted look on Thursday.

unusual: The Integrated Bus Stand at Maatuthavani in Madurai wears a deserted look on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: G. Moorthy

Special Correspondent

Buses keep off roads, trains reach Madurai as usual and flight service is normal at airport

MADURAI: Even as the dawn-to-dusk general strike went off peacefully, normal life was hit in Madurai and suburban locations as shops downed shutters and buses were off the roads on Thursday.

The DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had called for a state-wide general strike to draw the attention of the Centre to the plight of innocent Tamils and to impress upon the Sri Lankan government to stop killing of Tamils in the island nation.

Unwanted

The main Opposition parties had described the one-day strike as ‘unwanted’ and urged the public to ignore the strike call.

Elaborate bandobast

Police had made elaborate bandobust arrangements and ensured that there were no untoward incident, a senior police officer said.

Though the presence of employees at government offices was thin, election work at the District Collector’s office went on as usual, a spokesman said.

Shops remain closed

Shops and establishments downed shutters and State Transport Corporation buses too remained off the roads till evening.

All the trains arrived at Madurai from Chennai and other destinations as usual and flight service was normal at the airport, officials said.

According to a senior TNSTC official in Madurai division, a majority of the employees did not turn up for work in view of the strike call.

However, some of the drivers and conductors affiliated to unions of Opposition parties claimed that they were ready to take the buses as usual.

But the senior officials insisted on an undertaking in writing from them on the safety of the vehicles.

As the mofussil buses remained off the roads, the integrated bus stand at Maatuthavani wore a deserted look. Normal life was affected as movement of the common man was crippled.

Passengers who arrived from different destinations by express trains at the railway junction had to take auto rickshaws and call taxis as the TNSTC buses did not ply.

The share-auto operators too were in great demand, traffic police said.

Hotels, restaurants and cinema houses in the city remained closed since morning. Tea-shops were opened in select locations.

The TASMAC shops functioned as usual, while many of the departmental stores and medical shops in the city opened only after 6 p.m.

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