Bengaluru: A day-long shutdown called by trade unions received a mixed response in Karnataka on Wednesday. Normal life was hit as buses and autos didn’t ply and factories, banks and shops were shut.
With employees of the state-run transport corporations joining the strike, thousands of people were stranded in cities and towns across the state.
The state-run Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corp withdrew its airport service after a mob damaged a few buses by smashing their window panes with stones.
Though most three-wheeler auto-rickshaws remained off roads in Bengaluru and other cities, a few ferried commuters on main thoroughfares and suburbs — but after charging them exorbitantly.
Hundreds of passengers arriving at the three main railway stations in the city had a harrowing time in the absence of autos and buses. Commuters complained that taxis fleeced them by charging double the fare.
As the education department did not declare a holiday for government schools and colleges till Tuesday night, confusion prevailed. Hundreds of students returned home with great difficulty. Private educational institutions remained shut.
State and central government offices reported thin attendance in the absence of buses and autos, while banks, insurance firms and post offices were closed across the state.
About one lakh blue collar employees of state-run HAL, BEL, BEML, BHEL, HMT and ITI across Bengaluru abstained from work in support of demands and in protest against the government’s “anti-labour policies”.
Hundreds of factories and medium-cum-small-scale units in the Peenya industrial township also were closed as their workers joined the strike.
About 25,000 members of 10 trade unions staged a massive demonstration at Town Hall here and took out protest rallies across the city.
Fifteen platoons of the State Reserve Police were deployed in the city to maintain law and order.