Bengal, Kerala worst hit by all-India strike call

22:14, September 07, 2010      

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Nine Indian major trade unions Tuesday called for a 24-hour long nationwide bandh (strike) to protest against price rise and other issues such as disinvestment of public sector, retrenchment and entry of foreign capital in the retail market.

Bengal and Kerala, two states considered the stronghold of Communist Party of India -- Marxist and leftwing unions it supports, are the worst hit due to the strike.

The impact of the strike was also seen in Manipur and Assam in northeast India, and Maharashtra in western India. But in most other parts of India, there was not much effect.

In West Bengal, more than a 100 flights to and from Kolkata were canceled by major carriers.

Jet Airways, along with its low cost carrier Jetlite, canceled 70 flights in all, Kingfisher canceled 29 and Spicejet and Indigo canceled 20 flights each. State-run Air India also rescheduled several flights.

There were very few taxis and cars on the roads. Most school and colleges were closed and offices saw thin attendance.

There was huge police presence in some parts of the city where Communist Party of India -- Marxist and Trinamool Congress (TC) party workers came out in protest, shouting slogans.

In Kerala of south India, there was a near shutdown with normal life completely disrupted. Educational institutions and offices remained completely closed.

The 24-hour long nationwide bandh called by nine major trade unions also hit Assam, where all public transport was off the roads.

In Maharashtra, over 100,000 auto rickshaws and thousands of taxis across Mumbai went on strike in protest against the price rise of essential commodities.

A few city-based taxi and auto rickshaw unions decided to lend support to the nationwide strike.

Normal life was affected in Orissa in eastern India as well due to disruption of transport services and closure of financial institutions in the wake of the nationwide strike called by central trade unions.

Banking services were also affected at several places as the federations of bank employees joined the strike.

The Railways, however, was kept out of the purview of the strike as Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee opposed the strike.

The Left Front led by the Communist Party was supporting the strike called by the trade unions but urged people to keep it peaceful.

India has been experiencing double digit inflation for months.

Source: Xinhua


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