Normal life was affected across the State on Wednesday, the first day of the two-day strike. Life is expected to be hit tomorrow too with CITU (CPI-M’s labour wing) joining in.

The trade unions’ demands mainly related to checking of price rise, generation of employment, halting of disinvestment in public sector enterprises and implementation of labour laws.

While Metro Rail and state-run buses plied as usual, there were fewer taxis and private buses on the roads.

According to the state units of the various trade unions, of the 37,000 private buses and 5,000-odd minibuses (in the State) only 1,500 plied today.

Local and long-distance train services in Howrah and Sealdah divisions remained normal, barring sporadic blockades at Hasnabad and Diamond Harbour sections.

Flight services at the NSC Bose Airport remained normal throughout the day.

Meanwhile, the jute industry suffered a production loss of 4,000 tonnes as almost all 75 jute mills across the country had shut operations.

“Such strikes not only cause great financial loss to the exchequer, but also achieve nothing apart from causing inconvenience to the common man,” P. Roy, Director General, Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.

All banks, including public sector, private sector and foreign ones (barring a few), downed shutters in support of the strike protesting against issues such as privatisation and outsourcing. Regional rural banks and co-operative banks also joined them.

Mamata’s claims

Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, however, said the State has “restored the work culture” and witnessed a cent per cent attendance across departments.

“We don’t support a bandh and I congratulate the people for refusing to support the strike,” Banerjee told reporters at Writers’ Buildings.

Unions criticise

Trade unions criticised the TMC-led government for resorting to violent ways to suppress the labour movement in the State. Peaceful bandh supporters were attacked by the police, they added.

shobha.roy@thehindu.co.in

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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