Thiruvananthapuram: The 48-hour national strike called by joint trade unions against the Central government's anti-labour policies hit normal life in the state. Many services of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were disrupted in many places. Only KSRTC services from Nilakkal to Pamba were operational. 

Private buses remained off the roads. Only private vehicles were seen plying. Normal life has been paralysed as teachers, bank employees, petrol pump workers and small traders are all on strike.

Earlier, the Kerala director general of police (DGP) Loknath Behera told media that if people try to change the strike into a hartal, then strict action would be taken. He also assured that security would be provided to schools and business establishments. 

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Railway services were hit in many places in the state in the first eight hours. Jan Shatabdi Express and Raptisagar Express were halted. Chennai Mail was blocked in Thripunithura. Sabari Express was delayed. The Venad Express, which was to leave at 5 AM was delayed by 90 minutes. 

Hospitals, airports, events such as weddings, and the tourism sector have been excluded from the strike. Sabarimala pilgrimage would not be disrupted. 

It is also reported that a Cabinet decision was taken to institute a law that entitles the court to execute life imprisonment sentence and penalty to those who destroy private properties in the name of hartal in the state. The Cabinet also approved to issue an ordinance - Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Ordinance 2019. This law will come into force upon Governor approval.

According to the ordinance, if private property is set on fire, the accused will receive life imprisonment sentence or at the least a 10-year jail term and will need to pay a fine.