New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) The daylong countrywide bandh called to protest the government's economic measures evoked mixed response in the national capital Thursday with most markets remaining shut, but life was largely unaffected as public transport was plying as usual.
The services of Delhi Metro, the lifeline of the capital, and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) remained unaffected by the 12-hour strike.
"The Metro services are running as per schedule. There is neither any plan to curtail the services nor any plan for extra trips," an official of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) told IANS.
Many auto-rickshaws decided not to observe the strike, though a leading association of taxi and auto drivers said half of the auto drivers had chosen to stay at home.
"We are not forcing the auto drivers to participate in the bandh. We said whosoever wants to support the bandh should not ply their auto or taxi. Over 50 percent of the auto drivers are not plying today (Thursday)," Rajendra Soni of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh told IANS.
While at neighbourhood shops it was business as usual, the big markets observed the shutdown till 1 p.m. These included Khan Market, Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar, and Greater Kailash.
"About 21 markets in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area will open after 1 p.m. We decided to participate in the bandh for half a day as traders and not to support any political party. The central government decision will badly affect us. The big markets in NDMC areas like Shankar Market, Gole Market, Janpath Bhavan will be open after 1 p.m.," Sanjiv Mehra, president, Khan Market Traders Association, told IANS.
Government-run schools -- Delhi government schools and municipal corporation schools -- were open Thursday but some private schools had asked students to stay at home.
"All schools of the capital's three corporations and those run by the Delhi government were open," a Delhi government official said.
Delhi unit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members said they had staged protests at around 160 locations in the capital since 8 a.m. Thursday.
Delhi Police said they were well prepared to tackle any law and order situation that may arise.
"In view of Bharat Bandh, police are ready to deal with any untoward incident," Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.
The bandh has been called to protest the central government's decision to allow FDI in multi brand retail and increase in diesel prices.