All-India motor strike evokes near-total response,  but Kochi shuts down only partially

Majority of shops across the city remained closed and several university exams were postponed

Published: 08th August 2018 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2018 06:17 AM   |  A+A-

With the all-India motor vehicle strike foiling their planned schedule, an eight-member team of visitors from Russia who reached the city on Tuesday decided to walk through the city roads | Melton Antony

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The nationwide 24-hour motor strike called by the All India Motor Transport Organisation (AIMTO) on Tuesday evoked a near-total response here, with private buses, taxis and autorickshaws staying off the roads.  But the strike had only a partial impact on normal life in the city as private vehicles plied as usual.

Compounding the woes of commuters, the KSRTC Joint Trade Union Committee's token strike coincided with the AIMTO offensive after conciliatory talks with KSRTC CMD Tomin Thankanchary failed on Monday. Lack of customers meant the majority of shops across the city remained closed. Several University exams scheduled for Tuesday were also put off.

Apprehending roadblocks by the motor strike supporters, several vehicles with 'Airport' written in bold letters emblazoned on their windshield were seen tearing through the deserted city streets at the crack of dawn.

" This being Kerala,  to be on the safer side, I was forced to leave for the airport at 6am  for a 10 am flight to New Delhi," said Swati Dey Roy, who was here for a wedding.  The office-goers bore the brunt as there was no public transport available.

Since majority of the online cabs chose to keep off the streets coupled with the surge pricing, the average person on the street had his cup of woe runneth over. "I had to wait for nearly 20 minutes to get a cab, that too at  2X surge pricing," said Dhanya P R of Vennala. Despite the near-total response, there were no immediate reports of private vehicles or essential services being targeted by the strike supporters.

Normal attendance

But the strike failed to affect the functioning of the district administration, with offices recording 76 per cent attendance. The situation at the district collectorate was even more impressive as 86 out of the 130  staffers turned up. The  Regional Transport Office functioning on the second floor of the Civil Station though saw a fall in attendance.

Metro to the rescue

The commuters who got down at the Ernakulam Town(North) and Ernakulam Junction(South) Railway stations easily found a way to get around by boarding the Metro. With a spike in the ridership, there was a sharp rise in the number of people who travelled on the Metro on Tuesday. Over 31,919 passengers used the service on Tuesday, according to a Metro report.  The strike was called to put pressure on the Centre to withdraw certain provisions proposed to be included in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.


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