Trade union strike: Several states affected on Day 1

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Bangalore, Feb 20: Here is a brief summary of the impact that was felt on in different parts of the country on the first day of the two-day strike called by central trade unions to protest government economic policies.

Kerala:

Thiruvananthapuram: Normal life was hit across the state with workers from various sectors, including banking and transport, refusing to join work. Buses and taxis stayed off the roads while shops and restaurants remained closed.

Train services were, however, not affected. The Congress-led state government declared 'dies non' (no work, no pay) to curb the impact of the strike. Although no instances of violence were reported from anywhere, security had been beefed up in different parts of the state. Emergency services were kept outside the purview of the strike, AITUC sources said.

The striking unions have presented a 10-point charter to address pressing issues like price rise, enforcement of labour laws, social security net and others.

Bihar:

Patna: The state witnessed a poor scenario as thousands were left stranded on Wednesday owing to road and rail blockades by members of striking trade unions. Nearly a dozen passenger and long-distance trains were halted at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Hajipur, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga. Long-route buses and trucks were also stopped at various points on the national and state highways, state police sources said. Authorities asked all private schools to remain shut in view of the strike.

Punjab and Haryana:

Chandigarh: Normal life was hampered in Punjab and Haryana due to the strike. Public transport was badly hit as buses plying on inter-state routes remained off the roads. "We are not seeing arrival of buses from Punjab and Haryana (operating on inter-state routes)," said director, transport, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking T P S Phoolka. Bus service in Chandigarh city was, however, normal.

Authorities of Post Graduate Institute of Medical, Education and Research (PGIMER) said that a contingency plan had been put in place to deal with any adverse impact of the strike. They did it after about 2,000 contractual labourers and cleaning staff members threatened to join the strike. The permanent employees were asked to carry out the duties of the striking staff members so that the medical services remained normal.

"We have also warned them (striking employees) that no work no pay rule shall be implemented in case they join strike," PGIMER spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said here.

Banking services in state banks were also hit by the strike. "Employees of all public sector banks as well as old private banks will observe strike and banking transactions will be impacted," said Naresh Gaur, secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation.

Meanwhile, medium and large industries in both Punjab and Haryana were apprehensive about production loss because of the two-day strike. The Chandigarh administration asked workers of electricity department not to support the strike and warned them of wage deduction.

CITU Punjab general secretary Raghunath Singh said workers would not allow functioning of factories, brick kiln units, public transport, electricity, trucks, saying that workers would not join their duties.

Jharkhand:

Ranchi: Mining, banking and railway services were affected in Jharkhand. Both government and private banks remained close in Ranchi and other parts of the state. Mining activities were affected in Central Coalfield Limited (CCL) and Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). Coal transportation came to a grinding halt in various parts of the state.

"There is a partial impact on coal production in some collieries. In many collieries, production is normal. Coal transportation has been affected partially," Deepak Kumar, public relations officer (PRO) of CCL said.

Trains were stopped in Dhanbad, Bokaro and other parts of the state.

West Bengal:

Kolkata: The situation remained normal in West Bengal on Wednesday, the first day of ethe two-day strike called by central trade unions to protest government economic policies. Shops and markets were mostly open in Kolkata, the state capital, and states buses plied in large numbers on a day when the frequency of private vehicles was comparatively lesser. The newly appointed commissioner of Kolkata Police, Surajit Kar Purkayastha, was monitoring the security on the roads and said everything was normal.

Train services were normal in Howrah and Sealdah sections, sources said. Instances of blockade were reported from Hasnabad and Diamond sections of the Eastern Railway, however. Flight services at Netaji Cubhas Chandra Bose International Airport were also normal.

ADG, law and order, Banibrata Basu said no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere. Many schools and colleges were shut in Kolkata.

The state government had asked its employees not to toe the bandh line and appealed to commoners to maintain normalcy. Shopkeepers and traders were told to carry out business as usual or their trading licence could be cancelled. The state employees were also given similar warnings. The government also assured the bus owners that it would compensate in case their vehicles were damaged by bandh supporters.

Train services remained largely normal in the South-Eastern route barring an agitation at Balasore station early in the morning. Two long-distance trains, namely, Guwahati-Bangalore Express and Ernakulam-Patna Express and three passenger trains were delayed.

Tripura:

Agartala: Life in the Left-ruled Tripura was completely crippled by the strike. "The strike was total and successful with all levels of workers and general people expressing their anger against price rise, retrenchment, underpayment, poverty and many of the economic policies of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government," CITU leader Pijush Nag said.

Most markets, shops and business establishments, government offices and educational institutes and financial units were shut. Roads wore a deserted look and rail services between the state and the rest of the country were affected. Bus services between Tripura and Bangladesh and other parts of north-eastern India were also affected. Air services between Agartala and Kolkata and Agartala and Guwahati were normal, airport sources at the state capital said.

State police sources said there were no reports of any untoward incident.

CITU sources said besides the common demands, the strikers in Tripura also sought steps on deprivation of over Rs 10,000 crore to the state by the 13th Finance Commission and rejection of foreign direct investment.

Odisha:

Bhubaneswar: Buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws remained off roads, causing huge inconvenience to to commuters. Several people, including women and children, were left stranded at the bus stations. Shops, markets, business outlets, restaurants and petrol pumps also remained close. Train services were disrupted at Cuttack, Balasore, Berhampore, Sambalpur and in Bhubaneswar.

Security was tightened at several parts of the state.

Andhra Pradesh:

Hyderabad: State bank employees protested at Bank Street at Koti here on Wednesday to support the strike. Other trade unions also planned protests during both days of the strike. They took out a rally in Vijayawada and sought response to their demands from the government. Members of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation also participated in the strike in different parts of the state. Employees of the state-run Singareni Collieries Company Ltd also stayed away from work during the day.

OneIndia News

(With agency inputs)

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