People using public bus transport and ferryboat commuters were on Wednesday badly hit by the bandh called by trade unions as part of the nationwide strike against government’s “anti-worker” policies. Students, office goers and others were left stranded in various parts of the state. Ferryboat operators supported the bandh in the morning hours leaving commuters stranded on either side of the Mandovi river. Many people were left stranded at the Betim, Malim, Chorao, Divar and other ferry points. However, some people having knowledge of coxswain operations offered their services in the morning.
Some stranded commuters from Chorao and Divar islands also took to canoes in the morning. Some students and office goers had to return back home.
The control room of north collector received 8 emergency calls in the morning and immediately responded to them, revealed a source in the collector’s office.
Tourists bear the brunt at Dabolim airport
Tourists who arrived in the state as well as those leaving via the Dabolim airport faced major inconvenience as taxi operators including yellow black taxi cabs besides other tourist taxis went off the road on second day of bandh call given by the central trade unions on Wednesday.
Hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists used private taxis or other mode of transport to travel to their destinations since the wee hours. KTC buses came to the rescue of the tourists stranded at the airport with around 26 buses plying on Calangute route via Panaji from the Dabolim airport.
The situation worsened in the afternoon during peak hours as there were no tourist taxis to ferry the commuters who arrived at the airport.
Private taxi operators and others made a brisk business. There were reports of private taxis, rickshaws and even motorcycle pilots exorbitantly charging tourists, especially foreigners.
Meanwhile, several governmenAt offices in Vasco wore a deserted look. Most staffs failed to reach offices in time due to unavailability of buses. The students Vasco faced a hard time with several of them stranded.
Railway commuters also faced the brunt of the strike. The fish and vegetable market besides schools, banks and other establishments were functioning as usual.
There was not much impact on companies at Verna industrial estate.
Mixed response in Mapusa, vicinity
The Bharat bandh received mixed response in Mapusa and its vicinity with the market and government offices operating without any major disruption. Transportation was affected as private buses, tourist and black and yellow taxi did not operate. However, there was little inconvenience to commuters including tourists as KTC buses were plying on almost all routes beside the rickshaws and local pilots also operated.
Early morning when interstate bus arrived, the commuters were ferried by the private operators or rickshaws hence there was not much inconvenience. However after around 11.30, tourists were left waiting as there was no transport facility. Even at Thivim railway station, not much effect was seen as rickshaws and KTC buses were stationed to cater to tourists.
Mapusa market witnessed a regular day as all shops were open but saw lesser number of customers compared to other days. Most of the companies in Thivim industrial estate functioned normally except for a few which witnessed low turnout.
In the morning, the staff of post office of Mapusa, who is part of all-India postal employees’ Union group – C, staged a demonstration outside the post office.
Even schools in the city were functional.
KTC bus service had made additional trip to areas on routes like Mapusa-Panaji, Mapusa-Aldona, Mapusa-Calangute/ Candolim areas, Mapusa-Anjuna, extra trips were also made on Mapusa-Bicholim, Valpoi, and Dodamarg routes.
Assistant traffic inspector for Mapusa KTC bus stand Vinayak Naik informed, “We made around 400-plus trips today to ensure that transport facility is available. More additional trips were especially made on Mapusa-Panaji, Calangute and Anjuna routes to cater to tourists.”
When contacted, deputy collector of Bardez Gaurish Shankhwalkar informed, “In the taluka, everything was normally functioning except for private buses and taxis. No untoward incident was reported.”
Bicholim weekly market shut
Business activities at the weekly bazaar at Bicholim were hit by the bandh with most establishments downing the shutters. However, in the evening, the bazaar opened with vendors resuming operations.
Meanwhile, in Sankhali, the bandh evoked mixed response with many shops remaining closed and most business activities came to a halt. Shops, banks and other institutions were closed. Even the Bicholim industrial estate was closed. While private buses were not plying, KTC buses operated on various routes but people suffered due to lack of transport facilitates in various villages. Some vegetable, fruit and other vendors operated in the market but other shops remained closed.
Later, mining workers gathered at the Shivaji Maidan area and claimed that the bandh was a success.
Bicholim mamlatdar Pravinjay Pandit, who reviewed the situation, said that the bandh was peaceful. Bicholim police inspector Sanjay Dalvi said that no untoward incident was reported in the area. Police teams were posted in different parts of Bicholim and Sankhali towns.