KOCHI: The State incurred a loss of around Rs 1,500 crore due to non-functioning of the trade and industry sectors on Friday, when various trade unions organised a nationwide hartal, estimates the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The Cochin Special Economic Zone (SEZ) remained closed for the first time on a strike day, as protestors prevented employees from entering its premises. The loss incurred by the SEZ is estimated at `100 crore. LuLu Mall, the second largest shopping mall in the country, remained closed on Friday, and the revenue loss is estimated at `10 crore.
Kerala was the worst affected state in the country due to the nationwide strike. Meanwhile, operations of Technopark and Infopark were not affected by the strike, though the attendance was very low. Employee turnout at Technopark was 75 per cent, while only 60 per cent of the employees reported for work at Infopark.
Functioning of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) was not affected much. But, the per-paid taxi service at the airport functioned only partially. The strike also failed to impact the the Cochin Port and the ICTT, Vallarpadam.
The Cochin SEZ at Kakknad, which employs around 25,000 persons, was the worst affected establishment in Kochi. More than 100 activists of various trade unions blocked the two gates of the SEZ from 6.30 am onwards. Though employees of the various firms functioning at the SEZ attempted to enter the office premises, they were threatened and sent back by the protesters.
"This is for the first time operations of the SEZ were stalled completely due to a strike. None of the 125 companies functioned as employees were not allowed to get inside the complex. The loss caused by the shutdown is estimated at `100 crore. The impact was severe as only a few policemen were deployed, while there were more than 100 protestors. Such incidents would send a negative message to exporters, and nobody would be interested to invest in Kerala any more," said CSEZ Industries Association president K K Pillai. Employees of Muthoot Technopolis, which is situated adjacent to the SEZ, were also blocked by the activists.
Meanwhile, City Police Commissioner M P Dineesh denied allegations that the police had failed to provide sufficient security to commercial establishments in the city. According him, sufficient number of police men were deployed.