Strike hits normal life in Goa

Panaji, Sep 2 (IANS) The all-India strike called by central unions and transport associations received a good response in Goa, with markets and public transport largely hit, union leaders said.

While stray and minor incidents of violence were reported in some places, the strike hit attendance in government and private sector offices due to the virtual absence of public transport.

Only two-wheelers could be seen on the roads in the state capital. There was no bus barring some from the government-run Kadamba Transport Corp vehicles.

“There are not too many people using the bus service because they probably thought there would be no transport available,” the corporation’s managing director said here.

Police also arrested around 200 workers who had blocked National Highway 17 near the Verna Industrial estate, located 25 km from Panaji.

Several trade unions and transport associations from Goa have joined the strike called in protest against the provisions of the proposed Road Motor Transport and Safety Bill, Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade and the government’s tinkering with labour laws.

Most hit by the strike were tourists, many of who were stranded at major transit points like the Dabolim airport and various bus and railway stations.

“I have been trying to flag down a vehicle for the last three hours. I have a reservation at a hotel near Calangute beach,” said Ashad Johari, a tourist from Mumbai at the Mapusa bus stand, 15 km from Panaji.

Suhas Naik, convenor of the Goa Convention of Workers and All Goa Transport Operators Associations, said the strike was total in some areas.

“We are satisfied with the response. The areas of Ponda, Bicholim (both sub districts) were completely closed,” Naik said.

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