The state of Karnataka is observing a near-total bandh on Saturday, with vehicles off the roads and most private establishments shut as of Saturday morning. Here is why Karnataka is witnessing a bandh.
The News Minute’s reporters Sarayu Srinivasan and Anisha Sheth get us updates from the ground.
Roads are empty, buses and most auto-rickshaws are not plying, while medical stores are open.
There are a few auto-rickshaws seen operating at Majestic in the morning, but they were quoting high prices in an attempt to fleece helpless commuters.
“We will operate till about 8-8:30am, and based on what the situation is we will stop,” said Swamy, an auto-driver at HSR Layout.
A family trying to convince an auto-driver to take them to their destination.
Early in the morning, as outstation buses drove into Bengaluru, some auto-rickshaws were plying at important stops like Madiwala, but their service has now stopped.
Shops at Madiwala market are open. “If I am going to be beaten up, so are the others here who have kept their shops open. Like always we will keep shops open until there is too much pressure to shut,” said Ramakka, a vegetable vendor at Madiwala.
Petrol stations are open at some places. Staff at an oil station in HSR Layout told TNM that they were to down shutters by 8am, but following a request and offer of security from the police, they have kept it open for customers.
“We were to close at 8am, but the area police called and asked us not to. They are deputing a police personnel and keeping an ambulance here for emergency,” said Shobha, at Hi-Tech Autoservices Petrol Pump in HSR Layout.
Ola and Uber taxis are mostly down, but some were spotted operating in the city. An Ola driver near Majestic, Umesh, said that just 20% of the taxis are working.
“We got message from Uber stating that their office will be closed. But they did not ask us not to work. However, I support the bandh and I will not work,” said Basavaraju, and Uber driver.
All airport taxis are off the roads. People have to get to the airport on their own vehicles.
"It was a double whammy," said Vidhya, who was taking a flight out on Bengaluru on Saturday, "I tried several options but finally managed to get a private cab. I had to start early and pay double. Just hoping he'll turn up and we will reach the airport without any delay or adventures."
Passengers outside the railway station also said they were being overcharged by pre-paid taxi drivers.
People were also deprived of fast food at their doorstep from Swiggy. “Our services will be paused until the end of the Karnataka Bandh, later at 6:30 PM today. Stay safe and see you soon,” read a text message from the food delivery service.
State buses are not operating.
Schools and hotels are closed.
The Metro is open for travelers, but there were attempts by the Kannada Rakshana Vedike to disrupt services, and some members of the group were also arrested. As per the latest update, the Metro was operating for some time but has now been stopped.
More updates to follow.