Bangalore, India's IT hub, came to a grinding halt on Wednesday, as hundreds of tech firms including global software majors like Infosys and Wipro logged out in view of the daylong shutdown across Karnataka.
Though several tech firms and their code writers declined to admit support to the strike, called by Kannada organisations and regional political outfits to defend the status of Belgaum as part of the state, they decided to shut down to avoid confrontation with protestors and prevent damage to their property.
"We have declared a holiday and suspended operations for the day to avoid inconvenience to our employees, as they would not have reached the workplace in the absence of private/public transport," a top executive of an IT major said.
"Though we express solidarity with the organisers for their cause, we are apolitical in backing the strike call," the executive added.
To make up for the day's loss of work, several firms like Infosys and Wipro have directed their employees to report for duty on Saturday. Many firms, however, made makeshift arrangements in their offices for skeletal staff to provide remote/online services to their US and European clients.
"To ensure essential services to our global clients, we have asked some of our lateral engineers to stay back in the office late on Tuesday and take a compensatory off later. As some operations are on 24x7 basis and critical to our business, we have reserved a few rooms in the nearby hotels and guesthouses to facilitate select staffers to stay and report for duty at short notice," said another IT firm's HR head.
Many BPO and call centres, which provide services to global customers on 24x7 basis, pulled all stops to maintain operations by asking majority of their employees to stay put in the offices and take a compensatory off next week.
IT clusters such as the electronics city on the Hosur road and the Information Technology Park Ltd (ITPL) at Whitefield were deserted, with thousands of techies staying away and hundreds of vehicles keeping off the roads.
Though banks, private firms and public sector undertakings have not declared a holiday, their operations were affected as their employees failed to turn up in the absence of public or private transport.
To prevent any damage to their property from miscreants, hundreds of theatres, hotels and restaurants decided to shut down for the day, turning a bustling city into a ghost town on an otherwise working day.