BENGALURU:The buzzing city came to a near-complete halt on Saturday as several organisations extended support to the bandh call given by pro-Kannada organisations demanding early implementation of Kalasa-Banduri and Mekedatu projects.
As many as 4,000 supporters of various pro-Kannada organisations and other associations marched from Town Hall to Freedom Park to mark their protest against the delay in implementation of the projects. They also organised a ‘Gana Homa’ at the Town Hall premises.
While most business establishments and shops were closed for a good part of the day, traffic movement was also thin. With various public transport unions supporting the bandh, buses were not plying while availability of autorickshaws and taxis remained scarce. Petrol bunks too were shut causing inconvenience.
People coming to the city from far-off places were seen stranded at bus stands and railway stations as they could not reach their destinations. Protesters carrying Kannada flags blocked the railway track at the City Railway Station for about 10 minutes around 5.45 am just before the Chennai-bound Shatabdi was to start.
Pooja and her friends, who reached Bengaluru from Mysuru by the Shatabdi, booked an Ola cab to go home. “We were told they will be applying price surging and we have to pay more,” she said.
Vasantha, who works with a women’s group in Nelamangala, was unlucky to miss the Intercity train from the City to Coimbatore at 6.15 am.
“I took a bus early in the morning but missed the train by a few minutes. With no public transport to return home, I had to wait at the station till 9 pm to catch the next train to Coimbatore,” she said.
A group of Army men returning to their home in Madhya Pradesh on a vacation said they had to pay `400 from J C Nagar to reach the City railway station in the afternoon. “We used to pay `140 for four of us for the same trip earlier,” said Akash.
Two women from Pondicherry who landed inthe city for shopping, ended up staying at dormitory for women in the railway station.
“We finally went out in the evening and managed to buy all that we wanted,” said Vanathy, a designer in Pondicherry.
As the primary and secondary, and higher Schools and colleges remained closed. However, evening colleges worked. Some private schools even convened parent-teacher meetings.
While BMTC services resumed around 4 pm, KSRTC started operations around 3.30 pm. Ekroop Caur, MD of BMTC, said, “There were no incidents of violence reported and we resumed services by 4 pm.”
Additional Commissioner (West division) P Harisekaran said, “There were no untoward incidents in the city. Our men were deployed at the international airport, all railway stations, bus depots and terminals etc., to maintain peace and tranquility.”
“Police closely monitored vehicular movement from other states. The depot managers of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu state transport corporations were also briefed,” he added.
“Over 70 people were taken into preventive custody after they tried to barge into the Kempegowda International Airport shouting slogans. They were later released,” said Vikas Kumar, DCP, North-east.
Metro Shuts Down
Without any prior public notice, Namma Metro on Saturday stopped all its services from 10 am to 4 pm citing poor patronage. A source said, “It does not make sense to run trains when there are hardly any passengers.”
According to Namma Metro authorities, the ridership between 6 am and 10 am and 4 pm and 9 pm on Saturday was only 15,922 passengers. A total of 6,207 travelled on the M G Road-Byappanahalli line while 9,715 commuters travelled on the Mantri Square-Sampige Road to Nagasandra line.
The average daily ridership for both the lines put together ranges between 50,000 and 55,000 from 6 am to 9 pm.
Police booked cases against auto drivers for demanding extra fares in various parts of city. Some private cabs made money charging double fares in the morning and by late afternoon, hiked it further. But police said there were no complaints regarding cabs overcharging.
In West division alone, around 40 auto drivers were booked for refusing to go on hire or demanding excess fare.
While 12 cases were booked in Chickpet traffic police limits, the City Market and Upparpet traffic police booked 10 each in their jurisdictions.
Residents had a harried time in many areas disposing off waste as garbage collectors kept away Residents of areas like Jayanagar, Koramangala, JP Nagar, RT Nagar, HSR Layout, Banaswadi, Wilson Garden and others had a tough time.
The garbage in the neigbhourhood of the BBMP headquarters was also left uncleared.
Less out-patients Hospitals too wore a deserted look as there was less inflow of outpatients.
Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, where usually over 1,000 outpatients are attended to, reported only 20 per cent of patients in the OPD, hospital authorities said.
Victoria Hospital reported around 50 per cent drop in outpatients. “On normal days, over 1,200 patients report at our OPD. Although doctors were on duty, the patient count was less,” said Medical Superintendent Dr T Durganna.
The dean of Bengaluru Mecial College and Hospital had directed his staff that no one should take leave unnecessarily.
“We had arranged pickup and drop facility for our doctors, nurses and other staff. A few doctors arranged their own transport,” he said.
At Jayanagar General Hospital, only 30 per cent of patients reported at the OPD. On other days, the hospitals sees at least 900 outpatients.
Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Science, where contractual staff are on agitation, also reported low turnout of outpatients.
Proceedings in the high court as well as lower courts were unaffected on bandh day. But the number of parties appearing for evidence in trial courts was less due to non-availability of public transport.