Last Friday, Hyderabad and the rest of Telangana lived through the 11th bandh this year. It was the second bandh this month, the first being a two-day affair.
No wonder that the common man, whose problems political parties claim to espouse, sees little purpose in them.
After almost two years of a bandh or two every month, citizens and establishments in the city are looking for a variety of coping mechanisms.
Some schools have stopped treating Saturdays as halfdays, and some have begun to conduct special classes on Sundays to make up the pace on their syllabus. Some business establishments do business as usual behind closed or half-closed shutters.
Banks have learnt to carry on their business by ushering customers in by a side door.
Fed up of losing a day’s wages every month or so, auto drivers have stopped heeding bandh calls and ply with a vengeance, extorting as much as they can from commuters left with no option.
In many localities where political parties have no strength, shop-keepers are braving the travelling bands of activists and carrying on business. Or in some localities, most retail outlets open their doors in the afternoon by which time the bandh supporters would have tired of the whole exercise and gone home.
Recent bandhs have not had any impact in many localities.
As might be expected, the worst-hit areas during recent bandhs have been areas around the Osmania University campus such as Vidayanagar, Tarnaka, Manikeswaranagar, DD Colony and Jamia Osmania. Areas like Kukatpally, Chikkadpally, Abid’s gave a mixed response to the bandh last Friday.
Even the Old City’s response to bandhs has been less than enthusiastic lately.
Traders there ignore bandhs these days. In fact, on the day after the recent attack on MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi in April, pavement traders in the Charminar area turned up for business as usual.
The city is fed up of bandhs. The city’s IT hub Cyberabad has always been cool to bandhs. Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled Services (ITES) companies take measures to reduce the impact of bandhs on their operations. Many companies ask their employees to work from home on bandh days, or provide transport to bring them to work and drop them home.
The Information Technology and Services Industry Association of Andhra Pradesh (ITSAP) is lobbying the state government to bring the entire IT district of Cyberabad under the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) so that they can be exempt from shutdowns. Express News