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Bharat Bandh: Kochi stays in to ‘enjoy’ hartal

In Monday’s hartal, the first one in the state after months of lockdown and partial lockdowns, the life in Kochi was silent but peaceful.

Published: 28th September 2021 07:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2021 07:07 AM   |  A+A-

A worker washes buses on the hartal day at the KSRTC bus stand in Ernakulam on Monday. 

By Express News Service

KOCHI: In Monday’s hartal, the first one in the state after months of lockdown and partial lockdowns, the life in Kochi was silent but peaceful. While some motorists preferred to drive, most of the workforce remained indoors, in the statewide dawn-to-dusk hartal called in solidarity with the farmers protesting from November last year. Both LDF and UDF extended their support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ announced by the farmers’ organisation Samyukt Kisan Morcha. 

Forlorn markets
In the city, almost all the shops, except the medical stores, remained closed. The provisional stores that sell essential goods were also not functional, including those in the Central Market and Broadway. Some of the hotels and restaurants in the city were open but limited their service to takeaways and online delivery.

Tea seller riding his bicycle in the rain on the
Broadway

The public transport services were paralysed in the city and the passengers who came by train to major railway stations had to depend on online taxi services and the cabs provided by activists of Say No to Hartal. The volunteers of Say No to Hartal had announced that they would provide support to the passengers arriving at the railway stations. 

The KSRTC suspended the routine services as announced earlier. According to police, they provided security to some limited operations by KSRTC covering vital points such as hospitals, airports and railway stations. 

In Kochi, volunteer services and autorickshaws did not ply around the KSRTC bus station, since services were already suspended. Members of the trade unions, which supported the hartal, gathered at various points of MG Road and Banerjee Road to express their solidarity.

In the first hartal after the government allowed lockdown relaxations, Kochi came almost to a standstill. The hartal was in support of the Bharat bandh called by farmers’ union Samyukt Kisan Morcha to repeal Centre’s contentious farm laws. Both LDF, the ruling party, and UDF allied with the bandh. Photographer Albin Mathew takes us through the city’s near-empty streets 



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