The two-day nationwide strike called by the Central Trade Unions disrupted normal life in many States today and hit the banking and transport sectors leaving commuters in the lurch.
In Haryana, bus driver Narender Singh, who was also the Treasurer of AITUC, was killed when he tried to stop a bus which was being taken out from the Ambala Depot despite the strike, District President, Haryana Roadways Workers’ Union, Inder Singh Bhadana, said.
After the incident, other assembled workers resorted to violence damaging the vehicles belonging to the Ambala’s Deputy Commissioner of Police and SHO of Baldev police station area, police said.
Earlier, AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta told PTI that the victim was allegedly stabbed to death by some persons who wanted to take out buses from the depot despite the strike.
Commuters in the National Capital faced hardships as a section of auto-rickshaws and taxis remained off the road in support of the strike.
Although Metro services were not affected by the strike, bus services were partially hit by the strike as a number of bus unions, including a section of the Delhi Transport Corporation employees, have also extended support to the strike.
Eleven CTUs have called the strike to demand urgent steps to control price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws in all places of work, social security net for workers in the unorganised sector, end to disinvestment in PSUs and raising the minimum wage to Rs 10,000.
The impact of the strike was felt on public transport services in Punjab and Haryana as a majority of State-owned buses plying on inter-State routes in the two States remained off the roads.
Financial sector hit
“We have received massive response to our strike call as the operations in banks and insurance companies came to a halt,” All India Bank Employees’ Association Vice-President Vishwas Uttagi said.
No impact in Bengal
There was little impact of the two-day strike in West Bengal. Shops and markets were mostly open in Kolkata. Private buses and taxis were less, though State buses operated normally.
Barring blockades at Hasnabad and Diamond sections of the Eastern Railway, train services were normal in Howrah and Sealdah divisions.
The West Bengal Government had warned its employees against being absent during the strike. The State Government has also asked shops and markets to remain open or face administrative action, including cancellation of trade licence.
In Odisha, commuters faced difficulties in many parts as buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws remained off the roads leaving a large number of passengers, including women and children, stranded at the bus stands.
Shops, markets, business establishments, petrol pumps and restaurants remained closed and roads wore a deserted look with thin traffic, official sources said.
Train services were disrupted by protesters blocking the tracks at many places including Bhubaneswar, besides at Cuttack, Balasore, Khurda Road, Berhampur and Sambalpur, railway sources said.
Normal life hit
Normal life was hit in Left Front-ruled Tripura due to the strike. Shops and markets were closed, as were schools, colleges, banks and financial institutions.
Private buses and taxis were off the roads and train services came to a standstill in the State. CITU workers staged a dharna on the train lines at the Agartala railways station.
Bank employees’ protest
In Andhra Pradesh, personnel of various public sector organisations stayed away from work.
The employees of various public sector banks began protest at the Bank Street at Koti in Hyderabad as part of the strike. Leaders of the bank unions sit-out at the Government’s alleged attempts to dilute the public sector banking system.
Staff of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) have also joined the strike in different parts of the state.
Barring stray incidents of stone pelting in Bellary, the nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions in support of their demands evoked a mixed response across Karnataka.
Sources said some persons pelted stones at some buses and blocked the roads in Bellary while normal life was hit in Koppal, with buses, autorickshaws and other transport off the roads, officials said.
In Rajasthan, bank branches were closed and state roadways buses kept away from the roads.