Bandh grounds normal life in Kerala; no impact in TN, K`taka

Normal life was badly hit in the Left front-ruled Kerala by the 12-hour bandh sponsored by non-NDA and non-UPA parties to protest price rise but it failed to make an impact in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Apr 27, 2010, 18:30 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram/Chennai: Normal life was
badly hit in the Left front-ruled Kerala by the 12-hour bandh
sponsored by non-NDA and non-UPA parties to protest price rise
but it failed to make an impact in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
on Tuesday.

Barring stray stone-pelting incidents in Kerala, the
bandh passed off peacefully in all the three states, police
said.
Public transport was thrown out of gear in Kerala as
protesters blocked trains at several places particularly at
entry points like Palakkad and Kasargode, causing delay in the
running of long-distance trains by several hours and hardship
to hundreds of passengers.

Police said at least 29 cases of train picketing had been
reported. Several trains were cancelled or regulated, railway
officials said.

All modes of public transport were off the roads across
Kerala and shops remained closed. The agitators blocked roads
and forced closure of even petty shops during the shutdown,
which however, did not affect flight services.

Government offices and banks reported thin attendance,
while universities postponed the exams scheduled for the day.

Barring isolated incidents of stone-pelting at branches
of some banks, no violence was reported from anywhere in the
state.
In Tamil Nadu where principal opposition AIADMK is part
of the non-NDA bloc, the bandh call evoked poor response with
normal life remaining unaffected.

Hundreds of Left party workers were arrested when they
tried to block trains and buses at different places in the
state. In Chennai, vehicles plied as usual and shops and other
business establishments remained open.

Though drivers owing allegiance to AIADMK and Left trade
union CITU abstained from duty, buses were operated with the
help of newly recruited drivers, officials said.

The band evoked mixed response in the industrial hub of
Coimbatore and was total in hosiery town of Tiruppur where
shops and commercial establishments, including over 1,000
knitwear units remained closed.

In the BJP-ruled Karnataka, the bandh failed to have any
impact despite the JDS headed by former prime minister
Devegowda being a part of the non-NDA alliance.

The four-party combine of JDS, CPI-M, CPI and Forward
Bloc held a protest rally where they slammed the UPA
government for "failure" to check price rise.

Gowda said the hike in customs duty on petroleum products
had pushed up prices of several commodities.

A delegation of the four parties later submitted a
memorandum to Governor H R Bhardwaj demanding that the Centre
reverse its economic policies to check price rise.

PTI