Saturday, July 3, 2010

City to face Monday blues

The Supreme Court in 2005 upheld a Bombay High Court decision asking the BJP and Shiv Sena to pay Rs 20 lakh as fine for enforcing a bandh in Mumbai. Even though bandhs have been declared illegal there have been several calls for them since

While authorities will try to ensure that railways and buses ply as scheduled, taxis and rickshaw drivers have decided to stay off the road fearing their vehicles may be damaged

The city will have two sets of people on Monday. The ones who have already decided to extend their weekend by a day in view of the nation-wide bandh called by BJP-led parties, and the others, who have no option but to commute. The first set can enjoy the weather, and the rest, continue reading this.

The opposition is going all out to make Monday’s bandh a success. The BJP has managed to bring bitter foes Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena together for the bandh, much to the discomfiture of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. The parties challenged Chavan to move Supreme Court over the bandh call.

The CM had reminded them of a Supreme Court judgment that restrains political parties from calling a bandh. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, BJP’s Eknath Khadse, said nobody was scared of the CM’s warning. Joining Khadse were Shiv Sena’s Subhash Desai and MNS leaders Bala Nandgaonkar and Nitin Sardesai, who have vowed to make the bandh a success. On his part, Chavan warned of stringent action to those who indulge in the bandh.A look at how the common man will be affected...

Railways: Western and Central Railway officials assure services will not be affected. The police will be out in full force protecting railway stations, ensuring tracks are not blocked, and motormen not harmed. A senior Railway official said, “We had a top-level meeting on Friday, and have been assured complete safety by the government. Not a single train on any of the three lines will be cancelled. Motormen have been asked to keep the train cabin shut.”

BEST: Not only will the BEST buses run as per schedule, additional buses will be deployed if an emergency arises. O P Gupta, general manager, BEST said, “Of course our services will run normally. Not just that, we are ready to run additional buses if the need arises, especially from the airports. We will put iron grids on bus windows and windscreens for safety.”Taxis and autos: Not just the yellow and black cabs, even private taxi operators like Meru are not sure whether their vehicles will ply on Monday. A L Quadros, chief of Mumbai Taximen Association, said, “Why should poor taxi and autorickshaw drivers suffer in a political battle? Whenever they try to operate during a strike, they are beaten up and the cops just watch. We will remain off roads on Monday.”Police force: Leaves of jawans and officers of Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force stand cancelled on Monday. ACP Dilip Chavan (GRP) said, “We have asked for additional SRP and riot-control force. Railway is a soft target during bandhs and the city police will also assist us.”

Government and BMC hospitals are determined to continue their services. Dr T P Lahane, dean of all state-run hospitals in the city, said, “We will not postpone any surgeries. OPDs as well as Emergency Services will be available to the patients as we do regularly. We are fortunate that majority of our doctors, nurses and class IV employees resides in the J J campus, so in case of an emergency medical treatment will be easily available,” he added.

Even BMC hospitals will run as usual. Dr Sanjay Oak, Dean of KEM Hospital, said, “We have asked the staff to work overtime. Emergency surgeries will be given priority. We will make use of all the 500 resident doctors who stay in the hospital premises.”

Private hospitals are will also make an effort to ensure there is no disruption of services. Director of Jaslok Hospital Dr S K Mohanty said, “We have requested the staff to stay back on Sunday night so that services are not affected the next day.”