Public transport hit in partial Kerala shutdown


Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala witnessed a partial shutdown in seven of its 14 districts Saturday, with public transport badly hit, as it gears up for a state-wide shutdown called by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Nov 1.

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Six districts in north Kerala were observing a shutdown Saturday called by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) — a part of the opposition United Democratic Front — to protest what it termed the callous attitude of the civil aviation ministry about the development of Kozhikode airport.

The IUML is most influential in northern parts of Kerala.

In addition, Kottayam in central Kerala was virtually closed down with both the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist and the BJP calling a strike to protest against campus violence in the wake of an assistant sub inspector being clubbed to death at Changanacherry in the district Friday.

Of late, the practice of calling a shutdown has become frequent and is causing numerous problems in the state and serious losses to business as well as to the IT and tourism sectors.

Barring a few two wheelers and private vehicles, there was no movement of public transport in the strike-hit areas causing serious problems to commuters, especially those who had arrived at railway stations.

The BJP, which does not have a single legislator in the 140-member Kerala assembly, has called for a complete shutdown on Nov 1 to protest against what it terms the central government’s role in negating development of railways in the state.

“This is indeed sad that political parties are calling for a shutdown at the drop of a hat. This is causing serious problems to many, especially students and those wanting to go to hospitals. We have come for a test and now the date has been changed,” said Bineetha, who was caught unawares after reaching the Kottayam railway station.

Nov 1 happens to be Kerala Formation Day and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has urged the BJP not to go ahead with the strike, but the BJP is adamant.

Prathiba Patil also arrives at the state capital here that day on her first visit after becoming president.