Services were partially affected in Karnataka on Tuesday after a two-day nationwide general strike was called by a coalition of trade unions against the dilution of labour laws by the central government. No major incident of violence was reported across the state.
Streets and major junctions in the state saw smaller crowds compared to usual days, though shops and other establishments functioned normally. Protesters gathered and marched at important junctions and landmarks across the state, including Bengaluru.
Bus services by the four state-run transport corporations – BMTC, KSRTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC – were severely impacted. Major bus stations across the rest of the state, including Bengaluru’s Majestic, were empty, and as of 12 pm, only 26.5% (854 out of 3226) of scheduled departures in the city had completed their journeys. Some commuters were stranded at junctions, even though train and private bus services were largely unaffected by the bandh strike.
KSRTC ran only 1,518 buses out of a total 4,122 (36.8%) buses, according to its schedule. The NWKRTC and NEKRTC were hit worst with only 242 (9.8%) and 243 (10.8%) buses operating till 12pm.
Bengaluru Metro ran according to its normal schedule as did cab-hailing apps and autos from Ola and Uber. Auto rickshaws were also fewer that usual on the city’s roads on Tuesday.
In one isolated incident, a BMTC bus was vandalised by protesters near Basaveshwaranagar in Bengaluru.
Hundreds gathered at Bengaluru’s Town Hall with a coalition of left-leaning organisations chanted anti-NDA slogans. In Hubbali and Gadag, effigies of Union Minister of Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari were burnt by protesters who opposed the proposed Motor Vehicles Act (Amendment),
A procession was also led by BBMP Guttige Powrakarmika Sanghatane members demanding abolition of contractual work, minimum wages of Rs 18,000 per month and universal public distribution scheme in Magadi Road.
Schools and other educational institutions declared holidays based on orders from respective district commissioners in majority of the thirty districts including Bengaluru and Mysuru. In some cases, examinations were postponed, including preparatory PU-II exams, those in Bangalore University, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and Vishveshwarya Institute of Technology.
The strike is being supported by All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) among others following the National Convention of Workers held on September 28.