Mangaluru, May 20, 2016: The bandh in DK, Dakshina Kannada on May 19, Thursday, in response to the call given by the Nethravathi Rakshana Samyukta Samithi to oppose the Yettinahole project, was total and peaceful. The voluntary bundh was a big victory for the people at large.
Police kept a tight vigil in Mangaluru and surroundings, but they did not have much work as the bandh was voluntary and peaceful in almost all parts of the district. Barring two or three spots in Ullal, where tyres were burnt, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the district.
No private or KSRTC bus plied throughout the day. Almost all autorickshaws stayed off the road, contributing towards the success of the bundh.
Essentials like medical shops and milk booths were open, commercial establishments, petrol bunks, vehicle service centres, film theatres, Malls, hotel and restaurants, central market, and fish and meat stalls and all such businesses remained closed. There were, however, a few medical shops too that did not open their doors. Hence, the ever-busy port city wore a deserted look on Thursday May 19.
IT giant Infosys too declared a holiday in support of the bundh. Although banks remained open, there were hardly any customers. Similarly, hospitals were open too, but the number of patients visiting the outpatient departments were small, this was primarily attributed to non-availability of the public transport system. A number of private medical clinics, however, remained closed in the city. The bundh evoked good response in Belthangady, Bantwal and Puttur taluks, but mixed response in Sullia taluk.
Voluntary bundh : Strangely, unlike the previous bundhs in the district, this one yesterday May 19, Thursday witnessed most of the people voluntarily express support by remaining indoors. A few volunteers under the aegis of Nethravathi Rakshana Samyukta Samithi staged a road block. This disrupted the movement of vehicles in Surathkal, Ullal and Lalbagh, but the roads were cleared for the traffic to move, after a short while.
Addressing the protesters at Lalbagh, Samithi President Vijaykumar Shetty said that there was a good response for the bundh including in the hometown of District In-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai. He, however, warned that if the government does not respond to the demand against Yettinahole project, the protests will be intensified.
Passengers unprepared : People from places like Bengaluru, Mumbai and other states – especially those who did not have any private vehicles – were caught unawares as they could not reach their destinations. To add to their woes, the hotels too were closed. A person from Kerala who arrived at Mangaluru central by train was shocked to see the situation. He did not know about the bundh and had to find his way to Surathkal. He had to go to a construction site to join a team of his colleagues, he did not know any language and had a tough time finding a way to reach.
Many passengers preferred to remain at the railway station and the KSRTC bus stand throughout the day as they did not have any other option. Hotel Ocean Pearl manager said "We had more than the usual crowd for breakfast and lunch,’’.
The bundh also evoked good response in interior places of Puttur, Sullia, Bantwal and Belthangady taluks of Dakshina Kannada. This bundh on May 19, was the second such successful agitation against Yettinahole after various organisations held a district-level bundh on March 3, 2014.
Bus service in Udupi The bundh call in Dakshina Kannada did not affect Udupi district, the long-route government buses from all over Karnataka to Dakshina Kannada passing through the district had difficulty. The buses had to cancel or postpone the trips until evening.
The private buses plied as usual, but the buses plying towards Mangaluru had to cut short their journey at Mulki (DK-Udupi border). Late in the evening some small shops opened a little while to help people and few KSRTC buses were seen on the roads.