BENGALURU: Thursday’s bandh call given by pro-Kannada organisations saw public transport coming to a complete halt in the city during the first half of the day. However, by evening, most services were functional and in many areas of the city, the bandh received a mixed response as cabs and autos continued to ply and small establishments remained open for business.
Called to draw the attention of the central government to the Mahadayi river water sharing problem between Karnataka and Goa, the bandh however resulted in large shops, malls and tech parks remaining closed or partially closed through the day.
BMTC buses stayed off the roads for most part of the day from the start of operations in the morning. “We resumed operations slowly around 2 pm. The decision to stay off the roads was taken because a lot of our staff come from the North Karnataka region and were in support of the bandh,” said BMTC chairma M Nagaraju Yadav.
Bus services resumed in the afternoon and operations were normal by evening. However, there were sporadic incidents of violence in the morning when protesters gathered near Town Hall for a march to Freedom Park. On their way, they forced shops to close and even tried to stop trains at the City Railway Station. Stone-petling incidents were reported from Avenue Road and Malleswaram where activists tried to shut down local shops and restaurants. About 200 people were detained across the city. At Kempegowda Metro Station, agitators gathered in the morning but were dispersed by police.
For the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Thursday’s bandh resulted in their operations being halved. Out of a total of 5,743 schedules, only 3,191 had been operated by 6 pm on Thursday. Officials estimated the loss to be in the range of `3.98 crore out of a daily average revenue of `8.50 crore. Hospitals and clinics across the city saw reduced footfalls as patients could not reach hospitals because of lack of transport. The state government had on Wednesday cancelled leaves for medics to make it possible to cater to emergencies.
Namma Metro also saw lesser footfalls compared to regular days and functioned at a 10-minute frequency for most of the day. However, in the evening, the footfalls increased and the frequency was also increased, officials said.
Flyers face trouble
Several flyers faced inconvenience on Thursday as those travelling from the Kempegowda International Airport to various destinations had to arrive at the airport hours before the time of departure. Talking to Express, Sridhar from Jayanagar who was travelling to Sri Lanka with his eight-member family, said, “Our flight time is at 6pm but we did not want to take any chances, so we arrived at 6am.” Sridhar and family reached the airport in two private cars, “Since the people who dropped us had to reach before the bandh which starts at 6am, we had to take this measure.” he added. As airport was jam-packed, authorities had arranged additional chairs.
THE DAY THAT WAS
People stranded in many areas without BMTC buses.
Autorickshaws avoided areas like Majestic, Town Hall, JC Road and central business district areas.
Shops shut forcibly across Vijayanagar, Chandra Layout, Malleswaram; opened by evening.
Traffic flow smooth across city.
Evening colleges like Seshadripuram Degree College and others carried on business as usual. Several schools made Saturday a working day.
Courts functioned normally and a token protest was staged by Advocate’s Association president A P Ranganath at the civil court.
Banks worked, but wary people kept away
Bengaluru: Fearing getting into trouble on a bandh day, the number of people visiting banks on Thursday was comparatively less. However, some did make the trip as banks will be closed for the next three days due to Republic Day on Friday, second Saturday of the month and Sunday. The bandh did not affect the banking sector much. However, there were lesser footfalls in the morning hours. By afternoon, however, people gradually started going to banks.
The ATMs were working and as banks will be closed for the next three days, the vendor agencies have been directed to refill cash in ATM kiosks, said bank officials. According to M Mohan Reddy, convener of State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), there were no reports of untoward incidents leading to shutdown of banks. However, in some branches, precautions were taken to close down whenever there were agitators in the vicinity. “Otherwise, the banks operated as usual. We are yet to get reports from the rural areas”, Mohan said.