Road transport services affected, shops closed in many cities

Mumbai, Oct 11 (PTI): Road transport services were affected and most of the shops remained closed in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Monday in the wake of the statewide bandh called by three partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to protest the killing of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Leaders of three ruling parties – Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP – staged protests against the Lakhmipur Kheri incident, and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed the bandh was 100 per cent successful.
The opposition BJP in the Maharashtra claimed it was a state government-sponsored bandh and was unwarranted.
However, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister and NCP leader Jayant Patil said the bandh, which began at midnight, and the state government had no connection with the protest, which was called by the ruling parties.
Essential services were not involved in the bandh, he said.
The three ruling allies appealed to people to wholeheartedly support the bandh to express their solidarity with farmers.
In Mumbai, buses of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST- the transport undertaking of the city civic body) and many of the traditional ‘black-yellow cabs’ remained off roads, which led to huge crowds on suburban railway stations to commute by local trains, which were running as per schedule.
Shops and other commercial establishments, barring those engaged in selling essential items, remained closed in Mumbai.
The BEST bus services were closed after incidents of stone pelting at some places here in the wake of the Maharashtra bandh, officials said.
Nine buses, including one hired on lease, were damaged in areas like Dharavi, Mankhurd, Shivaji Nagar, Charkop, Oshiwara, Deonar and near Inorbit Mall here early morning, said a statement issued by BEST, which is the transport undertaking of the city civic body.
“The BEST administration has called for police protection and buses will be operated from all depots after reviewing the situation,” the statement said
The local trains, considered as the lifeline of Mumbai, were operating normally, but running packed as road commuters shifted to suburban rail services.
“Our services are running as per schedule,” Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer of the Central Railway, told PTI in the morning.
Most of the black-yellow cabs and auto-rickshaws were off roads in the metropolis, as per transport union leaders.
“The black-yellow taxis are operating, but their number is very less. The taxi operations outside the city airport are unaffected,” said A L Quadros, general secretary of the Mumbai Taximens’ Union.
The Metro rail services were also operating normally in the city.
Officials of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) said their buses from Mumbai to other places were plying as per schedule and no untoward incident was reported anywhere.
There was heavy police deployment across the state capital in the wake of the bandh. Police personnel, including women, were on patrolling duty in every area of the city and no untoward incident was reported till now, a police official said.
State’s Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said the bandh was peaceful so far.
“The government has no connection with the bandh. The three parties have called the bandh. We have called for the bandh and even the people of the state are upset with the BJP government. So they are backing us, he told reporters.
Patil, along with cabinet and party colleague Nawab Malik, NCP MP Supriya Sule and others, staged a protest at the Hutatma Chowk in south Mumbai. They held placards and raised slogans against the BJP governments at the Centre and UP over the killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Talking to reporters, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, According to reports that we have received, the bandh was 100 per cent successful. People have wholeheartedly participated in the bandh.”
On reports of violence during the bandh, Raut said, Such minor incidents take place during protests all over the world.”

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