National strike partial in Kochi

Private vehicles including two-wheelers of online food delivery companies are on roads as usual.

Kochi: The two-day national strike called by trade unions except BMS is partial in Kochi and outskirts. While shops, hotels and private firms are functioning normal, the public transport has been hit. Both private and KSRTC buses stayed off from road. Online taxis are operating, though less in numbers. Only few auto rickshaws are operating in the city and outskirts, though no three-wheelers are there in prepaid counters in railway stations and major junctions.

Private vehicles including two-wheelers of online food delivery companies are on roads as usual. Most of the fuel pumps in the city and suburbs are also functioning.

No incident of obstructing vehicles or forcefully closing shops were reported from anywhere in the city.

District collector Muhammad Y Safirulla visited the Broadway in the morning to ensure safety of traders who opened shops.

The tourism sector has been exempted from the strike and movement of tourists was not much affected.

Several tourists were seen roaming in the shopping centres of the city including Broadway and MG Road. Tourists, who were excluded from the strike, flowed across street in Broadway without strike affecting them but much of their journey across Kochi were limited.

"The government has guaranteed the tourism entrepreneurs that the sector would not be affected by the 48-hour strike," said Abraham George, former president of Kerala Travel Mart Society.

However, movement of many tourists who prefer to use public transport has been hit, said officials at the helpdesk of District Tourism Promotion Council at Marine Drive.

Shops open in Kozhikode

Most of the shops in Kozhikode opened on Tuesday as decided by the Kerala Vyapari-Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi not to shut shops during hartal days. The police provided security to the shops at SM street where violence had occurred during the hartal on January 3. Many shops had to close down due to the staff shortage.The Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association state president Moideen Haji said that the hotels functioned though the business was poor.

A few trade union members bocked the Chennai Mail in the morning at Kozhikode railway station. The railway police and the state police arrested and removed the protesters after which the train resumed its journey.

Many private schools functioned though the attendance of students and staff was low.

The commuters were stranded with KSRTC and private buses keeping off the road.

The CITU and AITUC workers took out rallies in the city raising a 12- point charter of demands, including control of price rise, minimum monthly salary of Rs 18, 000, equal pay for equal work, social security provisions, discontinuation of foreign investments in railways, banks and insurance sectors and jobs for unemployed youths.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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