Quiet day in city as buses stay off roads for bandh

Quiet day in city as buses stay off roads for bandh

Thursday was an unusually quiet day in the city, thanks to a bandh call given by Kannada and farmers' organisations.

The roads were largely empty till the evening. The bandh sought to highlight Karnataka's case in the Mahadayi river water dispute with neighbouring Goa.

Activists took out a rally from Town Hall, shouting slogans against the Central government. They also burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About 250 police and security personnel were on duty around Town Hall and Freedom Park.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Panth said the bandh had been peaceful across the state.

Protesters tried to block roads and trains at several places but were detained and released, he said.

About 600 habitual offenders were in preventive custody till 3 pm.

Nargund and Navalgund, towns in north Karnataka where the protests are intense, were also peaceful. No untoward incidents were reported anywhere, Panth said.

Forced shutdown

In Bengaluru, protesters forcibly closed a couple of shops.

Tension prevailed after protesters threw stones at a grocery store on Avenue Road.

When police reached the spot, the group fled, city police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said.

Protesters also threw stones at Namma Hotel and Namma Tea Point in Malleswaram.

Markets closed

The APMC yard remained completely shut, and workers were resting nearby. Trucks stood lined up, with no work through the day.

City Market and markets in Malleswaram and Chickpet remained shut.

Schools, colleges, cinemas, malls, bars and restaurants were closed. Some small eateries and tea stalls were open.

Deserted Majestic

The bus stations at Majestic wore a deserted look.

KSRTC and BMTC suspended their services in the morning citing a threat to their fleet.

At 7.30 am, some protesters told the passengers to get off and threw stones at some buses.

Police arrested hundreds of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists and released them later.

Metro as usual

Namma Metro services were not hit. But ridership was low, and the frequency was down to 10 minutes.

At 8 am, some people gathered at the Metro station in Majestic, but dispersed after the intervention of police, according to U A Vasanth Rao, BRMCL spokesperson.

Bus services resumed at the Majestic and Mysuru satellite bus stations at 3 pm.

At the courts

Most advocates stayed away to express solidarity for the cause.

Many banks were open but customer turnout was low.

Low attendance at software offices

The IT and BPO industry witnessed limited attendance on Thursday.

A majority of employees worked from home since transport was disrupted.

IT behemoths Infosys and Wipro had declared a holiday for employees. IBM, Oracle, Intel and Google encouraged their staff to work from home.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike took out processions near Manyata Tech Park and Bagmane World Technology Centre in Mahadevapura.

All tech parks remained closed. The city returned to normal after 5pm.

"Almost 80% are working from home. Only those who had urgent deliverables came to office," an IBM employee told DH.

Critical support staff turned up for work. A Netherlands-based assets management company was operational with 15 of its 250 workers.

"We were given strict instructions to remain inside the campus and not step out," an employee said.

A chartered accountant based in Sanjay Nagar  opened his office but had no support staff coming in.

Cab fares surge

Aggregators saw fewer cabs reporting for work on Thursday. As a result of low supply, fares surged.

"Ola is in compliance with the new fares fixed by the government of Karnataka. All customers are being charged within the minimum and maximum fare slabs set under the new policy," an Ola spokesperson said.

A business insider estimated about 40% of drivers had stayed off the roads.

No Vayu Vajra

With no BMTC buses to the airport, fliers depended on cabs. Ola, Uber and other cab services came to their rescue, but fares were higher than usual.

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