KOCHI: It was altogether a different experience for Keralites as day one of the 48-hour-long general strike called by trade unions passed off by and large peacefully in the state on Tuesday.
Contrary to earlier days when general strikes of this nature used to bring the state to a complete standstill evoking a hartal feel, Tuesday’s general strike witnessed shops, private offices and hotels functioning smoothly in all main cities and towns in the state.
Except for a couple of stray incidents where the strike supporters blocked vehicles in the morning, normal life wasn’t hit that badly after the police intervened to disperse the supporters. Kannur was the only district where strike had a paralysing effect with a majority of the traders downing shutters.
Thanks to the decision taken by the trade unions in Kerala that they won’t force any shops to down shutters or prevent private vehicles from plying. The decision to mellow down the rigid stance was taken following widespread public resentment against the non-stop hartals in Kerala, causing misery to people.
However, the public transport system and government offices where the unions had a major stake were affected. KSRTC and private buses stayed off the roads while a section of autorickshaw drivers could be seen in various parts of the state.
In Kasargod, the situation was peaceful. Assistant Superintendent of Police Shilpa Devaiah said: “No untoward inc ident was reported. The supporters of the strike did not block traffic and private vehicles hit the road without fear of being stoned,” she said. In Kayamkulam, a section of trade union workers forcefully closed shops.
Train services hit in the state
T’Puram : Several train services have been hit on Tuesday morning after the supporters of the two-day nationwide trade union strike blocked the railway tracks in Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. Trains were stopped at Tripunithura, Shoranur and Kozhikode. The services of Janashatabdi, Rapti Sagar Express and Venad Express were delayed. The Venad Express was blocked by the protesters and it was delayed by one-and-half hour. The train, which was to start at 5 am from the Central railway station, began only at 6.30 am. This disrupted other train services. Several passengers were stranded at the station. In the evening, the Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam Vanchinad Express scheduled to depart at 5.45 pm departed at 7.25 pm. At Varkala railway station, the Intercity Express was stopped while Vanchinad Express and Madurai-Punalur passenger train were stopped at Kollam station. At Chengannur, Kerala Express was stopped by the protesters. Alappuzha-Dhanbad Express and Ernad Express were stopped at Alappuzha station.