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Trade union strike evokes total response in Kerala

Posted on Feb 20, 05:07PM | IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 20 : The two-day nationwide strike called by various trade unions from Wednesday appeared to have evoked total response in Kerala, as shops and other establishments in the state downed their shutters and majority of the people preferred to remain indoors.

The trade unions have called the strike to protest against price-rise and "violation" of labour laws.

Barring private vehicles, the public transport in the state remained off roads.

"So far, everything appears to be quiet. It appears that people are in a holiday mood. We are ready to provide police help if the state road transport corporation asks for it to run their services," Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told reporters at the state secretariat here before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

State Agricultural Minister K.P. Mohanan expressed solidarity with the striking workers.

"The price rise is unbearable. There has to be a way out," said Mohanan. Unlike other ministers who were escorted in their vehicles by police personnel, Mohanan arrived on foot to attend the cabinet meeting.

Police have made elaborate arrangements at major railways stations and other places to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the strike.

A special service has been started here to ferry people arriving in long-distance trains.

Special vehicles were pressed into service to ferry workers to their workplaces in the Technopark campus here.

Roads bore a deserted look in the state's commercial capital Kochi and the people working in the special economic zone and the IT campus kept away from work.

The attendance was thin in many of the public sector organisations in the state.

The houseboat owners at Alappuza, a major tourist destination in the state, have also joined the strike.

In Kozhikode, social organisations are providing free food to those stranded at the railway station.