While farmers in New Delhi have temporarily suspended their protests, back in Tamil Nadu, opposition parties are gearing up for a state-wide bandh on April 25. With autorickshaw, trade, lorry and bus unions joining them, essential services are likely to be hit on Tuesday.
The strike, according to the DMK is aimed at pressing the Centre and state to immediately address the plight of farmers who are bearing the brunt of the worst drought the state has witnessed in 140 years. Apart from the Congress, CPI and VCK, several workers' unions and bodies have pledged their support for the bandh.
Transport services to be disrupted
The major services that are bound to be disrupted are buses, autos, lorries and shops across the state.
Balasubramani, the state general secretary of the Auto Thozhilar Samvedhanam told The News Minute that over 2.45 lakh autos in Tamil Nadu will not be plying on the roads. "In Chennai alone 73,000 autos will stay off the roads. In addition to this, 25,000 auto drivers are going to hold an agitation in Anna Salai, opposite the post office," says Balasubramani.
The bus union too has confirmed that over 20,000 buses will remain unattended to on Tuesday. "The government may find people to man close to 100 buses just to make it seem like the city is functioning. But 70% of the employees working in this government sector will remain absent," says Soundararajan, a Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader.
A DMK spokesperson, meanwhile told The News Minute that trader and lorry unions have decided to back the bandh and stop operations on Tuesday.
Vegetable supply to be hit
"Close to 4.5 lakh lorries that carry vegetables, construction material, iron and other important materials will not function from 6am to 6pm on Tuesday," confirms Kumaraswamy, President of the State Lorry owners association.
The lorry owners federation too has announced that they will back this 'fight for farmers'. The state president told TNM that 55 lakh lorries that carry building material and blue metal will remain off the roads from 6am to 6pm.
With no means to transport goods, trade unions who are part of the bandh, have said that Koyambedu market well remain closed on Tuesday. "21 lakh members in Tamil Nadu and 5 lakh members within Chennai itself will be shutting their shops tomorrow in support of farmers," says T Vellaiyan, President of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Federation.
In addition to this, members of the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sanagangalil Peravai will also be participating in the bandh. This umbrella organisation has 6000 trader associations under it. That would mean close to 60 lakh stores across Tamil Nadu - from medical to vegetable shops will remain closed on Tuesday.