Mysuru: It was a mixed response in city this morning for the State-wide bandh called by several pro-Kannada outfits under the umbrella “Kannada Okkoota” demanding the Prime Minister’s intervention in the inter-State Mahadayi river water dispute with Goa. One of the prominent outcomes of the bandh is that there were no KSRTC bus services, breaking the back of city, inter-State, inter-city and rural transport.
Today’s bandh is also a matter of prestige for the Congress and the BJP. While the Congress is indirectly supporting the bandh though it has denied instigating it, the BJP wants to foil it at any cost as its National President Amit Shah is arriving in Mysuru today at 3 pm to participate in the Parivartana Rally organised by the Karnataka unit.
Calling the bandh as State- sponsored, the BJP activists were gearing up to mobilize tens of thousands of people for the afternoon rally at Maharaja’s College Grounds. Special buses and vehicles have been hired to ferry people to the rally from districts and taluk headquarters.
Amit Shah is scheduled to arrive at the Mysore Airport at Mandakalli in a special flight at 3 pm. Two massive rallies – one from Gun House Circle and the other from Ramaswamy Circle — have been planned at 2 pm and the rallies will reach the Maharaja’s College Grounds at 3 pm.
Train services were normal and even the autos and taxies were on the roads though shops and business establishments in the Central Business District voluntarily brought down their shutters as a precautionary measure. Commercial hubs of Sayyaji Rao Road, Devaraja Urs Road and Ashoka Road wore a deserted look as shops were closed with a handful of vehicles plying. It was business as usual for the shops in residential extensions.
Hotels functioned normally as the Mysuru Hotel Owners Association had not extended support for the bandh. Cinemas, both single screen and multiplexes, in city did not screen the morning and matinee shows and ‘No Show’ boards were put up in front of cinema halls. Shows will resume by 6 pm, said theatre owners.
Banking operations were normal and government offices functioned normally but with thin attendance as there were no buses. Petrol bunks too functioned normally. While most private school and college managements decided to remain shut, some government schools reported thin attendance. Some students were asked to return to their homes after they came to the schools as there were no teachers.
Tech companies including Infosys have given its employees a holiday. They haven’t been asked to work from home either. Earlier in the day, Wipro too declared a holiday for employees as a precautionary measure.
KSRTC BUSES OFF ROADS
Though Transport Minister H.M. Revanna said yesterday that bus services will be normal, the KSRTC decided not to operate any buses this morning. All the buses were seen parked inside the Sub-urban and City Bus Stands and the respective depots.
Every day, 700 buses leave the Sub-urban bus station to various destinations including Bengaluru, making over 2,500 trips. Today, however, not a single bus moved, causing a loss of Rs. 65 lakh, said M. Vasu, Divisional Controller, KSRTC.
On an average, 450 buses leave the City Bus Stand making over 6,500 trips in 175 routes. According to KSRTC City Divisional Controller K.H. Srinivas, the city unit suffered a loss of Rs. 30 lakh.
TAXIES, AUTOS HAVE A FIELD DAY
Making hay when the sun shines, autos and private taxies made the most of the bandh by charging extra money from the passengers, even for short routes.
The minimum fare was Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 within the city. As there were no KSRTC buses, people were seen stranded at the bus stations. Passengers heading towards Mandya and Bengaluru were seen haggling with taxi and mini bus drivers as the fares were steep.
On a normal day, per seat in the taxi or a mini-bus to Bengaluru costs Rs. 125 to Rs. 150. But today, commuters had to cough up over Rs. 300 to Rs. 500 per seat.
MP VENTS ANGER
Several pro-Kannada activists took out bike and vehicle rallies waving Kannada flags and shouting slogans. Many of them protested at key areas including the City Railway Station Circle and other areas.
Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha paid a surprise visit to KSRTC Sub-urban Bus Stand and took officers to task for not operating buses.
He called it a government-sponsored bandh, alleging that the intention was to disrupt Amit Shah’s rally.
Stones pelted at KSRTC bus
Miscreants, who came on a bike, pelted stones on a KSRTC bus which was ferrying people to the BJP rally on Dr. Rajkumar Road in Raghavendranagar here this morning damaging the window panes. However, no injuries have been reported.
Nazarbad Inspector M.L. Shekar, who rushed to the spot, conducted enquiry and has registered a case.
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