Banking operations come to a standstill in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 (UNI) Banking operations in Kerala came to a standstill as the two-day nation-wide strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to press their demands, began in the state today.

The leaders of UFBU claimed that the strike was total in the state.

The UFBU also organised protests in front of the head office of State Bank of Travancore here. The agitation was inaugurated by MP Panniyan Ravindran.

Various leaders of AIBEA, NCBE, BEFI and AIBOA addressed the agitators.

A report from Kozhikode quoting Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Joint Secretary A K Ramesh said an estimated 70,000 employees, including officers, took part in the stir against the proposed move to privatise commercial banks in the country.

He claimed that many branches were unable to open due to the absence of staff members.

Addressing about 400 strikers, who held a demonstration before the State Bank of India Regional Office in Kozhikode, BEFI leaders said the agitation would be intensified if the government went ahead with the proposal.

CITU leader K K Bava, AITUC leader Chandrahasa Shetty, Mr A P Ravindran, AK Ramesh, P Sethumadhavan, leaders of NCBE, BEFI and IBOC, respectively addressed the gathering.

A Kochi report also said banks were closed in many parts and protests were carried out in front of the banks.

UNI PN/PCH NY CS1552

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