KOCHI: The second day of the national TU strike hit normal life in Kerala with public transport services with railway passengers becoming the worst affected as supporters of the strike blocked train services in many parts of the state. The Kerala Road Transport Corporation and private bus operators staying away from the roads also impacted normal life in the state.
The disruption in train services had the worst impact in the Malabar region as the strikers squatted in the railway tracks at Kannur, Payyannur and Palakkad. The blockade lasted for more than 30 minutes in many places. The strikers also squatted in Kalamasserry and Ernakulam north early in the morning disrupting services. The blocking of trains at Payyannur led to heated arguments between strike supporters and Ayyappa devotees in the train.
Most shops and business establishments in Kochi and Kozhikode opened compared with Tuesday. The number of three-wheelers also operating in Kochi was also higher compared with the first day of the national strike. In Manjeri, which witnessed a scuffle between strikers and traders on Tuesday, more shops were opened in the presence of large pose of police personal.
A batch 1,090 tourists arrived in luxury cruise liner Coasta Neo Riviera at Kochi port about 7.30 on Wednesday faced no problems in proceeding to destinations in and around Kochi and to the backwaters of Alapuzha. According to a tour operator the movement of the tourists was not impacted by the general strike as services of taxi and three-wheelers were available as on a normal day. A tourist also opined that the movement in Kochi was fine he faced no problems. The ship was scheduled to sail to Maldives in the late evening.
The polic foiled the efforts of the supporters of the strike to force the closure of shops in Koyilandy in Kozhikode district and Mananthawady in Wayanad district. The last day of the mixed response at Kottayam
The strike evoked a mixed response in Kottayam with the region witnessing a a few incidents of protests. While the strike largely affected the government offices and public transport system, private vehicles plied on road and a majority of shops and establishments functioned as usual. Trade union leaders staged protest marches in various centres.
Earlier in the morning, protesters blocked train traffic at Changanassery and Kottayam. While the Venad Express was blocked in Changanassery around 9 am, they staged a similar protest in Kottayam some three hours later when the Sabari Express reached the railway station here.
The railway police registered cases against the protesters in both the incidents. Meanwhile, the strike did not affect KSRTC’s Sabarimala special services as it operated 87 services from Kottayam Railway station till 5.45 pm to Erumeli and Pampa. Apart from 33 Pampa special buses, as many as 13 buses of the Kottayam depot also operated services to Erumeli and Pamba.