Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bandh brings life to a standstill

Bandh brings life to a standstill
The Hindu

No major incidents of violence; buses, autos stay off the road in Bangalore

# 700 people arrested for different violations
# Train and air services partially affected

BANGALORE: Life came to a standstill in Bangalore on Monday during the dawn-to-dusk Karnataka bandh called by various Kannada organisations to protest the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

Much to the relief of the people and the police, no major incidents of violence — and none directed against ordinary citizens barring two stray cases where trains were pelted with stones — were reported from Bangalore, which was under heavy security cover.

Several organisations staged demonstrations, and Commissioner of Police Neelam Achuta Rao told The Hindu that around 700 people were arrested for different violations.

Bandh total

The bandh was total with business establishments, shops, cinemas, restaurants, banks, IT companies, educational institutions and government offices remaining closed. While road traffic came to a halt, train and air services were partially affected and much inconvenience was caused to passengers who could not change their travel plans. The Terminal Manager at HAL Airport said 10 flights of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Sahara, Go Air and Paramount were cancelled.

Though the Railways did not cancel services, arrival and departure of trains were delayed following a `rail roko' in the city and in Bangalore Rural district, Railway Divisional Manager Mahesh Mangal said.

A railway communiqué said three trains bound for Mysore were terminated in Bangalore. Sreedevi Narayana Reddy (48) on the Bangarpet-Bangalore passenger was hurt when some people pelted the train with stones between Krishnarajapuram and Whitefield. The engine of the Mumbai-Nagercoil Express suffered slight damage in another stone-throwing incident between Whitefield and Devanagonthi.

The KSRTC and the BMTC did not operate services. Autorickshaws and taxis were off the road as their unions supported the bandh. Bangalore's roads, usually choked with two-wheelers and cars, saw only stray vehicles passing. Towards evening, the KSRTC resumed some of its services.

Bangalore's commercial hubs — Majestic, City Market, Avenue Road, Chickpet, Commercial Street, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road and Shivajinagar — saw none of the usual buzz, and the usually crowded Kempe Gowda bus station and the private bus stand in Kalasipalya were empty. Many passengers who arrived by train had a tough time getting transport home. Police arranged vehicles for some passengers stranded at the City Railway Station.


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