Feb 28 strike: Trinamool, Left on collision course


Kolkata : West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the Left Front seemed on a collision course Friday on the Feb 28 nationwide strike called by 11 central trade unions.

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While a senior minister threatened his departmental employees with strong action, including discontinuation of service if they take part in the strike, the Left described as “obnoxious” a government circular denying state employees leave Tuesday.

Transport Minister Madan Mitra told mediapersons at the secretariat that if employees do not come “strong action will be taken”.

“Their service book may be affected. They may lose seniority, or there can even be discontinuation of service,” Mitra said.

“I am here leaving aside loss of leave and salary. That will be there,” he said.

Mitra said there will be police arrangements in state bus and tram depots and over 1000 government buses will hit the roads.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Malay Ghatak said the Calcutta High Court threw out a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the judiciary’s intervention for ensuring the availability of essential services during the strike after the government placed before it the circular it had issued two days back.

State Panchayat and Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the Trinamool Congress will launch a statewide campaign opposing the strike and bring out small processions in all areas Feb 28 to thwart attemts to “thwart the development process”.

“All steps are being taken to keep life normal on that day. Nobody will be allowed to use force to make the anti-people strike successful”.

On the other hand, Left Front chairman Biman Bose equated the government’s anti-strike circular with that of the country’s erstwhile colonial rulers.

“This is obnoxious, never happened before in the state. Only during the British regime such kind of circulars were issued. It is right of the government employee to apply for leave any day. We oppose this black circular,” Bose said.

He also criticised the Bengali media for projecting the all-India workers’ strike as a West Bengal phenomenon.

Eleven central trade unions will participate in the Feb 28 agitation in support of a ten-point demand including steps for controlling the price rise of essential commodities and creation of more employment opportunities.