Kochi, Kollam, Kotayam, Thrissur: The 48-hour national strike by opposition trade unions badly affected public transportation in the state on Tuesday as protestors forcefully stopped employees who reported for work at major organisations like the Cochin Port and the Cochin Export Processing Zone among others.
Protestors resorted to picketing at Thiruvanan-thapuram, Tripunithura, Alappuzha, Shornur, Pal-akkad and Kozhikode railway stations hitting train services severely.
Most of the trains ran behind schedule throughout the day which made the life of inter-state Sabari pilgrims heading home after darshan.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) didn’t run regular services with only 20 per cent of the staff reporting for work. However, it operated Pamba special services from main railway stations like Ernakulam and Kottayam besides the Pamba-Nilakkal section for convenience of Sabarimala pilgrims.
“We operated 40 Pamba services from Ernakulam railway station on Tuesday. Besides the pilgrims, many passengers who arrived on trains too availed the service to reach their homes. Nearly 100 staff, including mechanics and office workers, reported for duty at Ernakulam,” said V. M. Thajudheen Sahib, zonal traffic officer.
Private buses, auto-rickshaws and hire taxis too stayed off the roads as private vehicles could be seen plying in large numbers throughout the day. There were long queues before a few petrol pumps that dared to keep open.
Earlier, the Railways was forced to cancel the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam passenger (T No 56387) and the Kayamkulam-Ernakulam Passenger (T No 56388).
Protestors squatted on the railway tracks in Thiruvananthapuram early morning. The Venad Express, scheduled to leave at 5 am, finally left Thiruvananthapuram Central at 6.30 am.
The Janshatabdi Expr-ess and the Raptisagar Express too were running near an hour behind schedule.
“The Venad Express was partially cancelled betwe-en Ernakulam and Shor-anur as an emergency step. At least three trains, including Vanchinad Express and Thiruvanan-thapuram-Tiruchirap-palli Intercity Express, were rescheduled,” said a railway spokesperson.
However, the Kochi Metro conducted normal services and experienced slightly higher ridership than the normal. The attendance at banks, state and Union government offices were low but shops and establishments including hotels opened in several parts of the state.
Trains blocked at Paravur, Kollam
The supporters of the all-India strike blocked train services in Paravur and Kollam railway stations. Vanchinad express was blocked in Kollam while Madurai – Punalur passenger, at Paravur railway station.
Private bus services came to a standstill on the first day of strike while KSRTC services except those for Pamba were disrupted in Kollam. Majority of the shops were open in Kollam and rural areas.
A village assistant was manhandled by protesters after he came for duty in his office at Mundakkal here. Srothas working with Mundakkal village office was assaulted by trade union workers at his office. He was later taken to Kollam district hospital with injuries on his face and shoulder. Police camped at the area to bring situation under control.
Strike partial in Kottayam
The national strike declared by the joint action council of trade unions affected the public life partially with the public transport system getting totally paralysed.
However, private vehicles plied through the Kottayam town giving some relief to the public. The shops and other commercial establishments were opened and no incidents of violence were reported in the district.
Normal life hit in Thrissur
Normal life was affected in Thrissur on day one of 48-hour-long nationwide strike on Tuesday.
Only private vehicle took to roads while a section of the traders opened their shops. In Thrissur town some autorickshaws belonging to BMS union also hit the roads.
Except undertaking two trips for Ayyappa devotees to Ernakulam, the KSRTC cancelled all its scheduled trips. Only two drivers turned up for duty at the Thrissur Depot.
The trains where blocked by protestors at Thrissur, Guruvayur, Wa-dakkanchery, Kallettuo-mkara, Irinjalakuda, Chalakudy.
Those protestors who blocked the train were arrested and removed by the cops. Most government offices witness low number of staffers.
Schools go short of working days
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 8
Frequent strikes have derailed the state's decision to ensure at least 220 working days in an academic year in schools. Till date, the schools had only 133 academic days.
The decision was of the quality improvement cell of the general education department earlier this year. In many places, floods had shut schools for more than one month.
In 2018, the state witnessed 97 hartals, and 2019 has already seen a hartal in the very first week of the year, followed by the two-day general strike which began on Tuesday.
The Kerala Education Rules also stipulates that every academic year should have 220 educational days, excluding exams, as did the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
But the political and social situation in the state during the past many academic years failed it.
Kerala High Court had directed in 2016 the state government to ensure 220 academic days, excluding exams and co-curricular activities, as relevant acts prescribe.
The Right to Education Act 2009 states that schools must provide 200 working days for Class I to V and 220 for class VI to VIII.
During the last many years, the academic days were less than 180. Last year there were 135 days in the first two terms and another 66 in the third term.
Recently, schools and other educational institutions sought an exemption from hartals to ensure the mandatory teaching days.
Ibrahim Khan, president, Kerala CBSE School Management Association, said he had asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala to exempt them from the national strike....