BENGALURU: The nationwide bandh on Tuesday, called by various trade unions, is likely to affect many services, but will remain a partial shutdown as many organisations have decided not to support it.
While essential services like KSRTC and BMTC are likely to be off the roads, autos, Metro and taxis will ply normally, as only some unions are supporting the bandh. The others have offered moral support but refused to stop services. Public sector banks are also expected to close, except State Bank of India.
Hotels, markets, malls and cinema theatres will also be operational. Schools and colleges will be closed in several cities, as orders were issued on Monday evening itself. However, the orders are only for Tuesday, and it is as yet unclear if Wednesday will also be a holiday. The 11th Joint Entrance Exam is scheduled to start on January 9, but no decision to postpone the exams had been taken till Monday evening.
BMTC to wait and watch
KSRTC operates from 17 districts in Karnataka, including Bengaluru, Mysuru and other places. KSRTC has written to the respective police stations, seeking security for their buses, bus stations and depots. “We have 8,700 buses and most of the reservation is for night buses. A decision on plying buses will be taken in the morning. We will check the situation and then ply. We don’t want to risk our staff, buses and properties, and more importantly, the public,’’ a senior KSRTC official said, on condition of anonymity.
BMTC MD N V Prasad said buses will ply. “However, we will decide after we see the situation in the morning,’’ he said. Sources in employee unions, however, said that they would not show up for work, which will affect bus schedules.
Banks shut, ATMs open
Employee unions of various nationalised banks have extended support to the bandh as well. Srinivas Babu from Union Forum of Banks said, “There will be no banks on Tuesday and Wednesday. ATMs will be open, however, we are not filling cash.’’
However, SBI, the country’s largest bank, said in a statement that it would function normally.
Chandrashekar Hebbar from Bruhat Bengaluru Hoteliers’ Association said they are not participating in the bandh. All hotels and darshinis will open as usual, however, there might be a few hoteliers who will stay shut. “One of the demands is minimum wages of Rs 18,000 for workers, we cannot give that kind of salary to unskilled workers, so we don’t agree with the bandh,’’ he added.
Autos to stay on roads
As many as 12 autorickshaw organisations are not supporting the bandh on both days. Manjunath from Adarsha Autorickshaw and Taxi Union said that whenever they call for a protest, trade unions don’t support them. “In the demands raised by trade unions, there is no mention of autorickshaws. Why should we support them?” he questioned.
Chinnegowda, president, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, said no trade union contacted them. “There are thousands of workers, including spotlight boys, electrician, junior artistes, tailors and others who work along with people in theatres. We have told them to wear black badges to work. We are extending external support,’’ he said.
KR Market Vendors’ Association is not participating in the bundh. There are around 1,800 shops in the market area. “Every day, thousands of farmers get fruits, vegetables and flowers. If we observe a bandh, these farmers will suffer,” Association president Diwakar said.
Garbage to pile up?
As BBMP contract pourakarmikas have extended their support to the bandh, uncleared garbage will haunt city residents for the next two days. There are over 18,000 pourakarmikas working in 198 wards — mostly employed as contract workers. Extending their support, BBMP Contract Pourakarmika Association had recently issued a strike notice to BBMP Commissioner regarding their support to the nation-wide bandh.
They have sought minimum wage of `18,000, PF, gratuity and other issues. “We have decided to participate in the bandh. We will be part of the protest and shall neither pick waste nor collect waste at the secondary points in our vehicles,’’ said a pourakarmika. As the protest is for two days, waste is likely to be seen at secondary points too. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said the bandh will not hamper their work. “We will esnure the waste is cleared,’’ he said.