City life is set to come to a standstill on Thursday following a bandh call by the Opposition parties including Left Front constituents and the BJP.
Although West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has spoken for the withdrawal of the bandh and assured the public of all the necessary steps to ensure normalcy, strike by taxi operators and small traders and shopkeeper associations could put people in discomfort.
While some small traders and trade organisations have decided to go on a 24-hour strike, taxi unions will go on a 72-hour strike beginning Friday, demanding a fare hike.
The Federation of West Bengal Trade Associations, which has close to two crore members across the State – including associations of small traders and shopkeepers – will go on a 24-hour strike to protest FDI in retail, a hike in diesel prices and a reduction in subsidised LPG cylinders.
“The decision to allow FDI in retail will directly impact small traders and shopkeepers. Our livelihoods are at stake here,” Mahesh Singhania, Chairman of the association said.
The Federation of Traders’ Organisations (FTO) plans to organise a sit-in-protest on Friday against the government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in retail.
The Federation has close to 50-60 lakh small traders under its fold. It will however, not join the bandh call on Friday.
According to T.N. Trivedi, general secretary, FTO, the sit-in-protest would be staged at the “Five Point Crossing at Shyam Bazar”.
This apart, the traders under the FTO umbrella will wear black badges and display awareness literature as to why they oppose the FDI in retail between September 21 and 30.
“If the government does not roll back its decision, we will hold a central rally after November 15 in which traders throughout West Bengal will participate,” he said.