Trinamool shutdown hits normal life in West Bengal


Kolkata : Train services were disrupted, university examinations were postponed and business activities took a hit Friday as West Bengal faced a second consecutive day of shutdown, this time called by the opposition Trinamool Congress, to protest the hike in fuel prices.

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While the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front had called a shutdown on the same issue Thursday, the Trinamool Congress enforced a similar dawn-to-dusk protest Friday.

Flight services were not affected but passengers had trouble reaching the NSC Bose International Airport as very few taxis and buses plied on the road.

Trinamool Congress supporters squatted on railway tracks, paralysing train movement.

“We have cancelled eight long-distance trains. Trains have been detained at various stations as the agitators are sitting on railway tracks. We cannot run local trains also because of the blockade,” said South Eastern Railway public relations officer R.N. Mahapatra.

Some markets opened in the city, but there were few buyers and sellers.

“I had opened my shop Thursday, but some violent CPI-M supporters forced me to down shutters. They asked me to keep my shop open Friday to foil the Trinamool shutdown. I am tense. I don’t know what to do,” said Nirmal Kumar Panda, who has a shop at the Manicktala market in the northern part of the metropolis.

University examinations, besides those of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou), were postponed and few people ventured into the streets.

The normally buzzing Hazra crossing, a stone’s throw from Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s house, looked deserted.

Police said no violent incident had been reported, but threatened to take action if anybody tried to obstruct traffic.

“Necessary legal action will be taken if anybody tried to put up road blocks and prevent people from going to their destinations,” said Deputy Commissioner (South) of Police Rajesh Suvarna.

The IT sector has been kept out of the purview of the shutdown, though employees at the IT hub in Salt Lake Sector-3 had a tough time reaching their offices due to the dearth of public transport.