Left trade union sponsored strike begins

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Kolkata, Aug 20 (UNI) Life came to a grinding halt as the nationwide general strike sponsored by Left trade unions began in West Bengal this morning.

Shops and markets remained closed, all vehicles went off the road, train and air services were disrupted and industrial production was seriously affected.

Banks and other financial institutions, government and private offices also did not function.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said no reports of untoward incidents had been received from any part of the state so far.

Railway sources said a number of long distance trains had been detained at different points while the local train services in both Howrah and Sealdah divisions of Eastern and South Eastern Railway remained suspended.

Airport sources said not a single flight landed at Kolkata airport since morning. Indian Airlines had been able to operate two flights while Kingfisher operated three and Jet Airways only one.

The strike has been called in protest against the UPA Government's economic, industrial and foreign policies by the trade unions including the All India Trade Union Congress and Centre for Industrial Trade Union.

As many as 40 employees' federations have also joined the strike.

UNI KDG RH SB KN1104

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