Starting Tuesday midnight private buses, auto rickshaws, taxis, freight vehicles, state-owned KSRTC buses — all have gone off Kerala roads in solidarity with a day-long strike organized by the All India Motor Transport Organisation.
Even all workshops and spare parts shops have remained closed, turning it into a total shutdown.
With this 24-hour strike, the transport body is demanding the withdrawal of the proposed Motor Vehicle (MV) Amendment Bill.
Barring the Bhartiya Janata Party-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), all the other trade unions are taking part in the protest.
Private vehicles, though, have continued to ply across the state, as usual, leading to thin attendances in offices.
Students’ attendance at almost all educational intuitions was practically nil, even though it was not an official holiday. Even teachers’ attendances were also very low.
Given the situation, there was a huge rush reported on the Kochi Metro.
Although shops and establishments were open in several districts in major markets due to non-arrival of lorries ferrying consumables, they wore a deserted look.
People arriving at railways stations had a tough time. The police officers on duty tried their best to ensure transport for patients in need of emergencies.
Minor skirmishes were reported from a few places between protesters and drivers of taxis and auto-rickshaws who tried plying their vehicles despite the shutdown-call.
The proposed Motor Vehicle (MV) Amendment Bill, has been passed by the Lok Sabha, and is now awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s nod.
The protesters are also demanding reduction in insurance premium, besides the frequent price hike of petroleum products.