What bandh? It’s business as usual in Goa
While many parts of the country were hit by the general strike on Wednesday, Goa remained more or less unaffected. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, police said.
A two-day call for strike was given by trade unions demanding concrete measures to check inflation, ensure jobs and enforce labour laws.
Almost all establishments remained opened in the state except for nationalized banks and post offices. The branches of nationalized banks remained closed, though the cooperative sector banks functioned as usual. However, those having to withdraw money from ATMs had a tough time, as some ATMs ran out of cash and could not be replenished as the staff remained away from work. In Margao, most ATMs ran out of cash. All India Postal Employees participated in the strike. Educational institutes functioned as usual.
Transport was, however, unaffected as traffic was lean in Panaji for most part of the day except for traffic congestion in the morning caused due to the All India Trade Union Congress (AIUTC) rally.
Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) buses were seen running as normal, though on Tuesday, the employees union of KTC had spoken of participating in the strike. Although Ponda RTO officials had kept several buses on stand by to tackle the proposed bus strike in the state, no bus was off road in Ponda. The buses however had no rush as people had themselves chosen to stay at home.
Gajanan Naik, convenor of Kadamba employees ekvott (KEE) when asked, said they could not participate in the strike due to the imposition of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
He said KTC employees who were not on duty participated in the rally. He criticized the government saying that while they were in the opposition they had objected to application of ESMA whenever a call for strike was given to protest the inflation and other issues.
"The government has tried to suppress our voice by invoking ESMA but we will not keep quiet," said Naik.
The rally led by Christopher Fonseca, general secretary of AIUTC, had participation of around 2,000 employees.
Speaking to TOI, Fonseca claimed that 90% of industrial units were closed on Wednesday. The response to strike, he said had been overwhelming.
On Thursday, he said rallies will be held in other parts of the state.
The rally culminated at Azad Maidan where a public meeting protesting unchecked price rise, increase in petroleum products, increasing unemploymet, corruption, etc took place. [TOI]