Sabarimala Pilgrims Remain Unaffected Even as Bharat Bandh Delays Trains, Halts Buses in Kerala
To ensure Sabarimala pilgrims were not affected by the strike, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has been operating buses from various destinations to Pamba.
Train services disrupted in Kerala due to the two-day strike called by trade unions. (News18)
Thiruvananthapuram: Normal life came to an standstill in Kerala as trains were stopped and buses were kept off roads on Tuesday in wake of the 48-hour general strike called by 10 central trade unions against "anti-labour policies" of the central government.
Trains were hit in Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station as agitators squatted on tracks and raised slogans. The service could resume only after police arrested a few protesters and removed the others.
Trains were also stopped in Alappuzha, Tripunithura and Shoranur railway stations. Venad Express, which runs from the state capital to Shoranur Junction daily, was delayed by more than an hour, while Jan Shatabdi and Raptisagar Express trains were also affected due to the bandh. Thiruvananthapuram-Nizamuddin Express was unable to resume services by the time this report was filed.
Adding to travelers woes, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses stopped plying on the roads. However, the Thiruvananthapuram-Pampa service of KSRTC remained unaffected by the strike. Auto-rickshaws and Taxi services were hit as well.
Employees were stopped form proceeding at the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in Kochi.
Meanwhile, 'Mittayi Theruvu' (sweet street) in Kozhikode, which was worst hit in a series of violent incidents recently, was buzzing with shoppers. Shops at many places in the state capital were open.
All trade unions except the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have supported the strike, which has come five days after a 'hartal' was observed by right-wing groups in protest against the entry of two young women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from Tuesday's strike. To ensure Sabarimala pilgrims were not affected by the strike, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has been operating buses from various destinations to Pamba, the foothills of the Sabarimala temple. However, KSRTC buses were not plying on other routes.
The union leaders had assured businesses they would not force closure of shops and target traders. The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has said it would open its commercial establishments.
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