Home India News Normal life hit in Bengal, but high attendance at secretariat

Normal life hit in Bengal, but high attendance at secretariat


Kolkata: Streets wore a near-desrrted look with few vehicles and people venturing out, but air services remained normal and government offices recorded high attendances in West Bengal where normal life was hit due to a nationwide strike called by 11 central trade unions Tuesday.

Most shops and business establishments kept the shutters down and bank and insurance sectors were crippled while train service were partially hit following obstructions put on the tracks by supporters of the day-long strike.

There were reports of many government buses damaged by the strikers in Barasat of North 24-Parganas district, four were injured in a clash between the CPI-M and the Trinamool Congress in Rajarhat on the city’s outskirts, and a reporter of an electronic media and two photojournalists were beaten up allegedly by Trinamool activists at Jadavpur.

Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said the situation remained normal in the districts though some arrests were made in North 24-Parganas district for obstructing traffic. A total of 32 people were arrested in Kolkata.

The Mamata Banerjee government, which had threatened its employees with break in service if they absented themselves Tuesday, succeeded in ensuring high attendance at the state secretariat.

According to secretariat sources, over 84 percent employees turned up for duty, which was more than the usual 70-75 percent on other work days.

Claiming that the strike failed to elicit good response in the state, Banerjee described it as a “failure”. “There is no strike at all, everything is open. All the buses, trains, taxis are running. The flights have also operated totally according to schedule,” she said.

“It was a normal working day in the Coal India office, the ports, the industrial belt, the mint. The agricultural work went on unhindered. Trains, flights, buses, and taxis – everything moved normally. Most of the shops are open,” she said.

An Eastern Railway release said train services were affected in Canning, Lakshmikantapur and Diamond Harbour sections of the Sealdah division because banana leaves were thrown on overhead wires, causing power supply to trip, and obstructions in some stations.

Four long-distance mail/express trains had to be re-scheduled.

Leader of Opposition and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) stalwart Surjya Kanta Mishra said the strike was an unprecedented success.

“The strike was successful even before it came into effect. The government got scared and tried with all its might but could not foil it. There was hardly any attendance in the offices,” said Mishra.

The striking trade unions include the Left parties’ labour arms CITU, AITUC, UTUC, AIUTUC and Congress trade union wing INTUC, besides the BMS, HMS, TUCI and NLO, which have joined forces in support of a ten-point charter of demands.

The strikers have opposed privatisation and disinvestment of state-run sectors, “unbridled” corruption and price rise and demanded steps for preventing industrial owners from breaking labour laws, social security for unorganised sector workers, amendment in the minimum wage act, abolition of contract worker system.