‘What bandh?’ claims DMK as Tamil Nadu comes to a halt

‘What bandh?’ claims DMK as Tamil Nadu comes to a halt

Chennai: Aone-day strike called on Monday by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led government in Tamil Nadu for the speedy implementation of the troubled Adam’s Bridge, or Sethusamudram project, was near-total despite it being declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a ruling on Sunday.

Despite the apex court’s order that the state government not carry through with its strike, most companies including all major information technology and other technology companies had already cautioned their employees to stay at home.

Activities across the state were muted as public transport services were sparse with very few buses plying though private taxis and other vehicles operated relatively freely.

Many of the IT and outsourcing companies had declared Monday as a holiday as early as Friday, choosing to stay open on 6 October. Some business process outsourcing firms also made alternative arrangements to ensure business continuity.

Sutherland Global Services, an outsourcing company, arranged accommodation in hotels and guest houses for employees whose overnight shift was to end early Monday morning.

“But, considering the peaceful situation in the city, only a few rooms were utilized by the employees as most of them used public transport system to get back to their homes," said a Sutherland official who didn’t want to be identified.

Others, such as Accenture, a management consulting and technology services company, said only critical employees were asked to come to work.

Ravi Vishwanathan, vice-president and head of operations for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in the city, said such strikes “cause a bit of inconvenience." Still, he added, “hopefully Brand Chennai will not be affected" in the long-term from such disruptions.

Severely pulling up the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government, the Supreme Court on Monday warned that if it did not comply with its order on the bandh, it would not hesitate to direct the Centre to impose President’s rule.

“If there is no compliance with our order, it is complete breakdown of Constitutional machinery. We will then have to direct the government to impose President’s rule," a bench headed by acting Chief Justice B.N. Aggarwal and justice P. Sathasivam said.

The bench’s remarks came when the counsel appearing for the opposition, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) mentioned that Sunday’s order was not being complied with by the government and state-run buses were not plying. But chief minister M. Karunanidhi maintained that there was no bandh in the state. The DMK is an ally of the ruling Congress party at the Center.

The DMK wants the Centre to proceed with the Adams Bridge project, which has remained in limbo after India’s religious right and affiliated political parties turned it into a religious issue.

PTI contributed to this story.