Kerala: Day-long strike called by central trade unions

image representing strike. (representative image, file photo)

The day-long strike called by central trade unions was near total in Left-ruled Kerala on Wednesday, with vehicles, including state-owned KSRTC and private buses keeping off the roads.

In the state capital, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did not operate city and long-distance services.

Very few private vehicles and autorickshaws were seen plying on roads.

As Sabarimala pilgrims have been exempted from the strike, KSRTC buses are taking Ayyappa devotees to Pamba.

With trade unions of the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and opposition Congress-headed UDF participating in the strike, most of the staff did not turn up at the Secretariat.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers also did not attend office.

The weekly state cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday had been held a day earlier.

Police have made arrangements to ensure that there are no untoward incidents and 160 police pickets have been set up at various junctions in the city.

Railway sources said train services were unaffected by the strike called by various trade unions and there were no protests at railway stations.

However, passengers who reached the railway station here this morning had a tough time getting vehicles.

Police vehicles were arranged to take patients coming for treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Medical College Hospital and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences.

Initial reports said some Sabarimala pilgrims from Tamil Nadu had to wait for over two hours in Punalur in Kollam to get KSRTC buses for Pamba.

Shops and business establishments were also shut across the state despite the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, an organisation of traders, stating that they would remain open.

The Mahatma Gandhi, Kerala and Kannur universities have postponed various examinations scheduled for Wednesday.

The central trade unions are protesting against labour reforms, FDI, disinvestment, corporatisation and privatisation policies of the government. They are pressing for a 12-point charter of demands of the working class relating to minimum wage and social security, among others.

This is the second shutdown within a month in Kerala.

On December 7, the state had observed a dawn-to-dusk hartal called by at least 30 Muslim outfits to protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 

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