Deserted streets, shops with their shutters down and gun-toting policemen at regular distances comprised the scene greeting residents of the city’s suburbs during Thursday’s nationwide bandh.
In the eastern suburbs, from Mulund to Kurla, most service establishments were shut. Security was heightened, especially on suburban railway stations, to prevent disruption of services. “There were fewer people and vehicles on the road as most shops were shut,” said Dharti Khanna, 26, a call centre employee and Mulund resident.
In Kanjurmarg, home to several corporate offices, while most shops were shut, shopkeepers found unique ways to do business, without invited the wrath of political parties enforcing the bandh. “The pan bidi shop owners stacked some of their stock near a public toilet and hid there. People went there and bought what they needed,” said Vijay Iyer, 26, who is employed at a financial firm.
The empty roads made the commute much quicker for the office-going Mumbaiites. “It takes me 50 minutes to reach Kanjurmarg from my Goregaon residence. Today, I reached in 20 minutes,” said Iyer.
The situation in the western suburbs was similar. Suraj Dey, an employee of a private firm in Goregaon said he had to walk for 20 minutes to reach the Mira road station from his residence, as there were no autorickshaws on the roads. Aditya Paul, 25, a manager with a digital media firm said: “ People who live far away did not turn up for work.”