THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has reasons to cheer as we are just three short of a century. Ninety-seven not out. With two more weeks left in this year, the state has enough time to cross the milestone of two consecutive centuries in two years in a row.
Don’t think your favourite iconic stars Sachin or Veeru are at the crease. This is something more powerful and lethal. The three political fronts in Kerala - BJP, UDF and LDF - have called 97 hartals in the state in 2018, whereas it was 120 last year.
For an average Keralite, it is only a matter of maths. But the tourism sector, the mainstay of Kerala economy, is bleeding from the impact of the unmindful hartals. Each hartal burns a Rs 200-crore hole in the economy of the state with the tourism sector coming to a grinding halt.
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Around 50,000 domestic and foreign tourists were trapped indoors on Thursday alone when the BJP called a state-wide shutdown. Around 2,500 foreign tourists, mostly from the UK and Germany who arrived in God's Own Country by a chartered flight and four cruise ships on Thursday, were left in the lurch when Kochi, the nerve centre of the state, blinked its eyes in the wake of the hartal.
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Though the trade and tourism bodies swiftly acted by staying in touch with the state government and Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, the guests who reached here for a one-day visit were provided trip inside the city with police escort. However, they were deprived of a throbbing city life and its rich culture and shopping experience.
Total number of hartals
In 2018 (Stats by Say No to Hartal)
(Local, district and state-wide)
Total - 97
BJP and affiliated outfits - 31
UDF - 23
Left - 17
Total - 120
BJP and affiliated outfits - 47
UDF - 32
Left - 21