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Left-Sponsored Bandh Shuts Down Life In Bengal, Kerala, Delhi, Mumbai Undisturbed

The 24-hour bandh call against pricerise given by leftist trade unions shut down normal life in Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, ruled by the Left Front, but it had hardly
PTI September 07, 2010 10:17 IST
The 24-hour bandh call against pricerise given by leftist trade unions shut down normal life in Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, ruled by the Left Front, but it had hardly an impact on big metropolis like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Normal life was hit with air and road transport remaining disrupted in Left-ruled West Bengal.  Flight operations to and from Kolkata were crippled as private airlines including Kingfisher, Indigo, Jet Airways, Spicejet together cancelled nearly 80 flights.

Passengers were stranded at the airport as they faced difficulty in getting vehicles, sources said.  

Air India sources told PTI that flight operations by AI remained normal with the airline operating eight flights in the morning after the strike began.

These flights include an international flight to Singapore and domestic flight to Mumbai, Port Blair, New Delhi, Silchar and Aizawl.  AI cancelled their flight to Kathmandu, sources said.  

Passengers of two flights each to New Delhi, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Bagdogra and Dimapur will be carried together later in the day.

The countrywide strike took the shape of a Bangla Bandh  with the ruling Left Front extending support to the call.  Shops, bazzars, other commercial establishments and educational institutions the city and the suburbs were mostly closed. State and private buses were off the roads. Roads wore a deserted look.

Train and Metro rail services remained normal as they have been kept outside the purview of the strike in West Bengal by CITU, the CPI-M's labour wing. Train services were normal, but people faced trouble due to non-availability of buses.

IG Law and Order Surajit Purakayastha said the strike was so far peaceful with no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state.

CITU's general secretary Kali Ghosh said it was a 24-hour general strike in West Bengal against price rise and Centre's policy on divestment and privatisation.  The state INTUC distanced from the strike.

"There is no question of supporting CITU's general strike. We are concerned about the interests of the industrial workers and their job security. So we will observe a strike in the industrial units only," INTUC president Pradip Bhattacharya said.

CITU leaders said since this is the Ramzan period, they have exempted Muslim-dominated areas from the purview of the strike.  On the frequent strike calls by CITU in the state, Ghosh said, "People face problem 364 days a year. What is the big deal with just another day. This bandh is also for a good cause."  

Trinamool Congress is opposing the strike. Party chief Mamata Banerjee has said a day's shutdown has a crippling effect on the economy.   

Thiruvananthapuram: The all-India strike called by central trade unions affected industry and commercial sectors in Kerala besides disrupting normal life by creating impressions of a bandh. The strike was total in transport sector with buses, trucks and taxis keeping off the roads.

The protest did not affect public utilities like power and water supply. Trains were running without any disruption. Shops and business establishments were closed in all cities and towns.

Shifts in factories since mid-night was affected with workers staying away. However, the protest evoked no response in IT sector.

Educational institutions were also hit by the strike, mainly because of the lack of public transport for students and teachers to reach schools and colleges. Police said so far no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere.  

Chennai: The day-long strike call evoked lukewarm response in Tamil Nadu as normal life remained unaffected.

However, flight services on the Chennai-Kolkata route were affected as six flights were cancelled due to the strike in the Left-ruled state, airport sources said.

Buses and autorickshaws plied on the roads while shops and other commercial establishments remained open. No untoward incident has been reported from Chennai and elsewhere in the state so far, police said.

Train services operated as per schedule, Railway sources said.

AIBEA president CH Venkatachalam told PTI that apart from banks, postal employees, a section of state government employees and other PSUs were participating in today s strike.

State government had warned of strict action against persons disturbing law and order and preventing others from going to work.

For the first time all trade unions including INTUC were participating in the strike, he added.

Meanwhile, Chennai Port Trust officials said that a section of employees owing allegiance to some unions were participating in the strike.  "But there may not be much impact on operations," they said. PTI