12-hour bandh may throw normal life out of gear in city
By Shyam Balasubramaniam / ENS - CHENNAI
20th September 2012 10:03 AM
The nationwide Bharat Bandh called by various unions and political parties on Thursday is likely to have a significant effect on normal life in Chennai.
Autos and share autos will be off the roads and shops across the city are expected to keep their shutters down. But by all indications, MTC buses would be on the roads, functioning as a key transport lifeline through the bandh.
Notwithstanding preparations made by the police, traffic jams may be expected across the city, most likely in the morning hours, when most of the outfits backing the bandh are planning to hold road roko at key locations. Some unions have also said they plan to disrupt rail traffic with a rail roko at Chennai Central Station at 11 am.
All this could lead to a chaotic morning for the city’s residents, with schools being ordered to function. Also, most offices are yet to issue circulars to their employees on whether they are expected to turn for work or not.
The protest against the Centre’s decision to hike diesel and LPG prices and allow Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector has also attracted the support of trade unions and other social bodies. Traders associations have said most small grocery shops would be shut. The 12-hour bandh is expected to be complete with vegetable vendors though. Both local vegetable shops and wholesalers at Koyambedu will be shut. The bigger retail chains, however, are expected to open shop.
A vast majority of auto-rickshaws will be off the streets, with all major trade unions throwing their weight behind the bandh. Auto drivers’ associations have confirmed to City Express that the yellow share-autos and the Tata Magic share taxi operators had also said that they would stay off the roads. With the State government neither supporting nor opposing the bandh by the time this article went to print, MTC and SETC buses seem set to ply without disruption.
Members of transport workers unions told City Express that some MTC depots were pushing for an undertaking from their staff that they would report to duty on Thursday.
The 12-hour bandh is expected to have little or no effect on the long-distance private buses that operate from Koyambedu, as a vast majority of them ply only after 7 pm.
This apart, the supply of key goods to the city could take a hit for the next few days, with truckers’ associations announcing a nationwide 24-hour bandh.
Many of those taking part in the Bharat Bandh have said they are not clear over whether they would return to work after 6pm, when the bandh would come to a close. Neighbourhood shops and local vendors may be expected to open shop after 6pm.
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