Poor response to strike, few flights cancelled, banking hit

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Chennai, Aug 20 (UNI) Thousands of volunteers of the CPI, CPI (M) and Left-affiliated trade unions were arrested today for blocking trains and buses across Tamil Nadu even as the stir, part of nationwide agitation against UPA Government's 'anti-people' policies, evoked poor response in the State.

Though banking operations were hit and a few flights cancelled, the stir went off peacefully in Tamil Nadu.

Reports reaching here said the CPI (M) workers and trade union activists from CITU, INTUC and AITUC blocked trains in various parts of the State, including Tiruvarur, Vellore and Dharmpuri.

In Chennai city and suburbs, more than 5,000 Left Party workers including MLAs and trade union activists, were arrested for blocking buses at Saidapet, Kuralagam, Tiruvottriyur, Manali, Avadi, Ambattur and Tambaram.

Normal life was unaffected though only few autorickshaws were seen on roads as State Government operated its bus services in full strength.

Functioning of State and Central Government offices were largely unaffected as normal attendance was reported.Shops, business establishments and schools functioned normally.

Suburban EMU trains operated as usual while air services to the Left-ruled Kolkata, where the strike was total, were hit. Twelve flights, including eight to and from Kolkata were cancelled. Flights to Mumbai and Vizag were also cancelled.

Sporadic incidents of damaging windscreens of buses and autorickshaws were reported from some parts of the State.

Banking services, however, were badly hit following the nationwide strike called by various bank unions.

Police made elaborate security arrangements in lieu of the stir, especially in Railways Stations and bus depots, to prevent any untoward incidents.

A report said normal life in Southen Districts remained unaffected.

However, those who indulged in road and rail roko were arrested.

UNI GV-GM RL AS1836

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