The dawn-to-dusk vehicle strike called by major trade unions in Kerala against rising fuel prices has disrupted life and affected functioning of government, private and educational institutions in the state.
In most places autorickshaws and taxis stayed off the roads causing hardships to office-goers and people arriving at railway stations across the state. In Thampanoor railway station, rail commuters were seen waiting for hours for vehicles.
In the state's financial capital Kochi, private buses, KSRTC buses, trucks, autorickshaws, general taxis and those run by online cab aggregators stayed off the roads, making commuting extremely difficult for those going to work or school/college.
Arrangements were made by police to transport patients and bystanders in police vehicles to Regional Cancer centre and other hospitals. A woman, who came with a small child from Tamil Nadu, said she was waiting for nearly an hour at the railway station to take her to a private hospital.
Many of the universities have postponed their exams scheduled for today in view of the hartal. However, the state Public Service Commission will be conducting its examination and interview for various posts as scheduled.
Private buses were completely off the roads in Kochi, the state's commercial hub, causing inconvenience to the common man. Autorickshaws also kept away.
In Kozhikode, though Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated few services in the morning, later it was stopped.
The 6 am to 6 pm strike has been called by trade unions owing allegiance to both the ruling CPM-led LDF and Congress-headed UDF besides motor vehicles owners associations. The Bhartiya Mazdoor sangh is not participating in the protest.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)