The day-long bandh on September 16 called by opposition parties and traders in Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery river water sharing row and to condemn the attack on Tamilians in Karnataka,Â Â has received a mixed response.
While private milk and petrol distributors, autorickshaws, traders and others are participating in the bandh, supply of Aavin milk by the publicÂ undertaking has not been hit. The vegetable wholesale market in Koyambedu in Chennai was closed. T Nagar, the retail hub of Tamil Nadu was also closed down.
Organisers claimed that the loss would be around Rs 20,000 crore as even trucks have stopped operating and shops have closed down as the Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Association is also taking part in the bandh, arresting all commercial activity.
Traders, political parties, including Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), and other parties, except AIADMK, have extended their support to the bandh. Last heard, DMK treasurer MK Stalin led the protest at Egmore and blocked trains. While this was so, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, Stalin and MDMK chief Vaiko have been detained in Chennai.
Public schools, transportation and government offices, however, remained open. Expecting trouble, most private schools have declared a holiday on September 16. While private petrol pumpsÂ were shut, outlets run by public sector companies were seen functioning. There are around 4,500 private fuel outlets.
Similarly, around 3,400 buses in Chennai that is 70 to 75 percent are plying with police protection. Autos are operating partially. Chennai has around 2.5 lakh autos.
The Friday bandh called for by farmers’ associations and trade unions in Tamil Nadu has received differing voices of support from political parties. This leaves political experts wondering if the bandh will end up becoming a ‘pointless’ exercise.
After the bandh was announced, some parties responded instantly while some others took time to finalise their stand.Â Educational institutions, Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers’ Association and other unions responded by saying they won’t operate on Friday indicating that normal life is likely to be affected. However, AIADMK has maintained a studious silence.