Amidst all the talk to a Bharat Bandh tomorrow, May 31st, on the face of it, Bangalore seems to be little affected. Conspicious in its absence though is the lack of a single coordinated response by all city authorities together. The top brass of the city bus system, municipality, police, and traffic police are not speaking in one voice about whether citizens must stay home or not.
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Citizen Matters spoke to a number of officials to put this brief together.
BMTC has decided to operate the bus services like a regular day. Veere Gowda, Chief Traffic Manager (Commercial), says, “The BMTC services will be operating as usual tomorrow and there will be no changes in any schedule.”
The Bangalore Metro Rail department assures to send notice if they decide to close the services on the Bandh day. On Tuesday May 29th evening, B L Y Chavan, Chief Public Relations Officer, BMRCL, said, “As of now, we have not decided what to do. We will issue a notice if the Metro will not be operating that day”.
The Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP) is only willing to say that it will be a easy day as there would be much lesser traffic on the roads.
The Outer Ring Road Company Association (ORRCA) member firms are encouraging their employees to work from their homes in any case. Sha Deshpande, General Secretary of ORRCA says, “As of now, we have decided to stay indoors and work from home. So nobody will be travelling to office that day.”
Ecospace business park, another group of companies on Marathalli road has declared holiday on the Bandh and their employees will be working on Saturday instead.
Schools are waiting for the final decision of the state to decide whether they will remain open. The spokesperson of Rajarajeshwari Nagar-based National Hill View Public School says, “If the government declares a holiday tomorrow through newspapers, then we too with declare a holiday. Otherwise, the schools will be open.” Visvesvaraya University has postponed their 8th semester exams.
Banks will also remain open.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) called for the bandh, to protest the recent petrol price hike by the UPA government at New Delhi. The decision was announced by the NDA’s acting chairman and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani.
UPA increased the price of petrol by seven rupees and this led to concerns of price rise. NDA claims that UPA has taken an “anti-people move” as never before has there been a fuel price hike up to this level in one stroke.
Though the bandh is called by the NDA, the BJP in Bengaluru has its own ideas of staging the protests. BJP spokesperson Prakash J says, “We are going to hold protest. Our state president K S Ishwarappa with arrive at the Mysore Bank circle at 11:30 am and get himself arrested.” He adds that the BJP will be supporting the bandh in all ways possible.⊕