Thiruvananthapuram : The shutdown called by Kerala’s ruling LDF on Monday appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied, offices registered minimal attendances, and normal life was crippled.
While the leading national opposition parties called for a nationwide protest the aftermath of the demonetisation, in Kerala the ruling Left Democratic Front government decided to organise a dawn-to-dusk shutdown.
The shutdown was called to denounce the demonetisation of high value currency which has left the cooperative banks in the state in turmoil.
Even though it was a state-wide shutdown, the organisers have left tourism activities and also the banking establishments out of the ambit of the call. They have also sought the pilgrims to the famed Sabarimala temple to be left unaffected by the shutdown.
Attendances in banks were poor, as vehicular traffic was affected.
The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government has also called the strike to protest the “rash” behaviour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who declined to meet an all-party delegation from the state which wanted to apprise him of the turmoil in the cooperative sector.
The Congress-led opposition, however, expressed strong reservations over the shutdown.
Following the demonetisation, normal life has already turned upside down in the past 20 days and to further strain it would not be an answer to the woes, the Congress said.
Instead, the party decided it would stage a sit-in in front of the Kerala Raj Bhavan.
The officials at the Indian Space Research Organisation unit here worked under police security, as did the IT employees at Technopark here and at Kochi.
On November 8, the central government demonetised the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
Two days later, permission was withdrawn for the 1,600-odd primary cooperative societies from accepting or exchanging the scrapped currency notes, creating widespread resentment in Kerala.
The total deposits in the cooperative banks are around Rs 1.27 lakh crore, says Kerala Cooperation Minister A.C. Moideen.-Agency