Following the Mumbai Bandh call on Thursday by the Maratha supporters, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) plans to cover buses with protective shields while autorickshaw and taxi unions deciding to ply till the “situation remains conducive to business”.
On July 25, Maratha supporters damaged close to 25 buses and damaged rickshaws to disrupt transport services in the city. Protestors had staged rail rokos at many railway stations that had led to the cancellation of 56 trains on the Trans-Harbor line. While they withdrew their strike at 5 pm, fewer taxis and autorickshaws were seen on roads.
“We have advised drivers to watch the situation and decide if they wish to drive. If there is no major problem, we will drive taxis,” said A L Quadros, taxi union leader.
Ahead of the bandh, 500 Railway Protection Force and 200 GRP officials will be posted on Thursday on Central Railway. They will be posted at Igatpuri, Kalyan, Kasara, Thane, Ghansoli, Kurla and Ghatkopar stations.
Sanyukt Kamgar Sena leader Shashank Rao said rickshaws will ply in the city. “Last time, our business was affected due to the protest. We will observe the law and order situation and run our rickshaws.”
BEST officials said they will put protective shields outside the bus windows as a precautionary measure. “We will impose diversion on the routes or cancel services if the situation worsens,” Hanumant Gophane, public relations officer, BEST, said.
Schools in Navi Mumbai will remain shut for both morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday after the education department of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation declared a holiday. In the city and the suburbs, however, no such announcement has been made.
According to officials, it is up to the schools to decide on the matter, based on the situation.
While the School Bus Association said it has declared no bandh and buses would run normally, some schools such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir in Mulund and all branches of Pawar Public School have decided to remain closed.
Senior traffic officials said there will be no traffic diversions in the city. In Navi Mumbai, senior police officer said, “There is no road diversion in Navi Mumbai. In case some people are hell-bent on disturbing traffic, we will stop them. Otherwise we don’t expect any affect on the traffic around the city.” In Thane, police expect no band, sources said. “There is just going to be some symbolic protests. We have not put any traffic diversion as such for Thursday,” a senior traffic official from Thane said.