Mangalore, March 4, 2014

The bandh took a political turn at the KSRTC bus stand where MLA J.R. Lobo and Congress workers arranged food for commuters stranded at the bus stand. Ironically, the workers were shouting out pro-Congress slogans while also participating in a bandh that was aimed against the Congress-led State government.

Labelling the bandh as a “success” and “peaceful”, Mr. Lobo said the matter had been brought to the attention of the Chief Minister. “Many of those who are stranded are from outside the district, and even from places where the Nethravati water will be diverted to. We harbour no ill-will towards them,” he said.

However, the food served did come as godsend for commuters there, most of whom who were daily-wage workers. Adiyuppa Gadag, from Kushatgi taluk in Koppal, had come with his family of four early on Monday morning to head towards Kasaragod for work. “We didn’t know there was a bandh. We have been stuck in the bus stand without food since 6 a.m.,” he said.

For migrants such as Jayaram Sharma, a carpenter, headed to Hubli, there was no other choice but to wait out till the evening for a bus. A majority of the commuters at the bus stand were unaware of the reason for the bandh.

Autorickshaws were few and far between and commuters like Ramiza Rehman waiting on K.S. Rao Road said the fares were exorbitant. “I had to come to the hospital to meet a relative. I knew buses would be off, but I did believe I would get an autorickshaw,” she said.

Dakshina Kannada Chief Executive Officer Thulasi Maddineni said meetings and tasks scheduled in the government offices were continuing as usual. “Most have vehicles and most live in Mangalore itself, ” she said on the sidelines of the inauguration of an art exhibition.

The Regional Passport Offices, canteens at government offices functioned, while bank branches, restaurants, hotels, schools, petrol bunks, malls, grocery shops and majority of roadside petty shops remained closed.

Courtesy: The Hindu