Kolkata: Road and rail services were hit and normal life disrupted in the Left-ruled states of West Bengal in the wake of 12-hour nationwide strike called by CPM and some other non-BJP opposition parties on Tuesday to protest Centre’s “failure” to check inflation.
Violence in a small scale also erupted in Bengal’s Hoogly district as two train passengers were injured in a clash that broke out between the passengers of Ganga Sagar Express and shutdown supporters at Pandua station.
Abdul Razzak and Shanti Devi were injured when they along with other passengers tried to stop shutdown supporters from stopping the train and putting up a banner. The shutdown also affected air traffic in Kolkata with many air travellers stranded in the airport.
However, metro railways spokesperson said their services were normal.
Airport sources said 10 out of 25 domestic and international flights took off this morning. While fights of Air-India, Jet Airways and Jetlite took off as scheduled in the morning, services of other private airlines were badly hit.
In Kolkata, CPM’s workers’s union CITU affiliated-Airports Authority of India Employees Union office-bearers had said that they would impose strike in the airport.
An Eastern Railway spokesperson said due to obstructions put up by the shutdown supporters at several stations, train services were disrupted at Howrah and Sealdah division.
The streets in Kolkata wore a deserted look with state-run buses, private vehicles, taxis, auto-rickshaws remaining off the road since 6am as the shutdown began. Shops and educational institutions were closed, officials said.
The shutdown will also cost the state a whopping Rs500 crore loss due to an estimated fall of 60-61% in production.
“According to a rough estimate by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the total loss due to a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal would be approximately Rs496 crore of the Gross State Domestic Product,” ICC senior vice-president P. Jayanta Roy said.
“Annually the percentage loss per bandh to gross and net SDP stands at 0.21% and 0.2% respectively. Quantification of non-economic loss is, however, not feasible,” Roy said.
“This mainly includes loss of investors’ interests, damage to state’s impression to prospective investors, damage to industrial climate, socio-political unrest etc,” he added.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the shutdown has been a spontaneous protest against price rise.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee said the Left Front government itself had failed to control price rise and take action against hoarding and black marketing in the state.
State transport minister Ranjit Kundu said buses and trams would run if drivers and conductors report for duty. “I cannot give any assurance. It depends on the employees and do not feel any extra arrangement needs to be made,” he said.
The nationwide shutdown has been called by 13 non-UPA and non-NDA parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI), Biju Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (M), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Samajwadi Party (RSP), over price rise.
Thiruvanathapuram: Very much like in West Bengal, the 12-hour shutdown affected the southern state of Kerala with protestors stopping trains and vehicles both private and public preferring to stay off the road.
Educational institutions in the Left-ruled state were forced to reschedule examinations because of the shutdown.
Lucknow / Allahabad: Uttar Pradesh too suffered a business day loss and commuting problems with three buses torched in the state capital and business establishments closed during the shutdown.
Scores of Samajwadi Party (SP) activists were detained in Allahabad while trying to disrupt rail traffic.More than 50 SP workers gathered at the Prayag railway station at around 5am in the morning and squatted on the tracks, obstructing the movement of Lucknow-bound GangaGomati Express, police said.
The agitating SP workers were detained by GRP personnel following which the train could leave the station at 6am, half-an-hour behind schedule.
In the state capital, three buses were set ablaze allegedly by SP workers.
While the SP workers torched two buses in Krishna Nagar and Ashiyana areas in the wee hours, another was set ablaze in front of Vidhan Bhawan building, they said.
The SP workers also stopped trains at several places in the state including Lucknow and Pratapgarh, the source said, adding some people were detained in this connection.
RLD and CPI workers took out a procession and staged dharna at Hazratganj crossing in Lucknow disrupting traffic movement.
In Ghaziabad, SP workers stopped the Lucknow-bound Shatabdi at the railway station for around 20 minutes. Some trains on way to Delhi were also blocked, a railway source said.
Daily commuters between Meerut and Delhi were stranded as private buses were not plying on the stretch.
Additional director-general of police (law and order) Brij Lal said around 2,700 PAC personnel have been sent to different districts to ensure law and order.
Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD supported the day long shutdown against inflation forcing normal life to go out of gear in Orissa.
Vehicular movement was paralysed across the state as bandh supporters blocked national highways, state highways and other roads, putting a halt to plying of passenger buses, trucks, taxis and auto-rickshaws, police sources said.
Rail services were also affected as trains were stopped at different stations for a brief period, they said.
Security was tightened throughout the state with deployment of about 2,000 security personnel in various places to deal with any eventuality during the strike called by seven non-Congress and non-BJP political parties in the state.
In the state capital, shops, business establishments and commercial outfits remained closed during the shutdown.
The strike affected work in Central government offices, public sector units including Nalco, post offices and banks as protestors resorted to picketing and prevented staff from entering their offices, sources said.
Work was also affected in East Cost Railway (ECoR) headquarters due to picketing by protesters, but emergency arrangements had been made by railway authorities to maintain basic functioning, an official said.
The shut-down also affected normal life in various places like Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore, Puri, Balangir, Baripada and Khurda.
Hyderabad; The TDP-Left-sponsored nationwide shutdown began in Andhra Pradesh with opposition activists holding protests across the state.
Leaders and workers of opposition parties staged sit-ins in front of depots of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) at Vijayawada, Visakhpatnam, and several other places.
Passengers had a tough time as APSRTC suspended its services at various places as a precautionary measure.
In Hyderabad, activists of TDP, CPI and CPI-M and their allies held protests in the city and urged the people to take part in the shutdown voluntarily.
APSRTC suspended some of its services in the city also causing inconvenience to many commuters and office-goers.
TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, CPI state secretary K. Narayana and his CPM counterpart B.V. Raghavulu would participate in the protest later in the day.
No untoward incident has been reported so far from any part of the state.
Itanagar: Roads displayed an empty look in Arunachal Pradesh during the 12-hour shutdown while banks, Central government offices, markets and educational institutions remained closed.
State transport department office said not a single bus plied causing much inconvinience to commuters in the hilly state.
Agartala: Shops had their shutters down while vehicles remained off road in Tripura in the so far peaceful 12-hour nationwide strike called by the Left and non-BJP opposition parties to protest Centre’s alleged “failure” to check price rise.
Financial and educational institutions also remained closed during the shutdown. The state secretariat had hardly registered any attendence, a source said.
Train and air service were also hit.
Chandigarh: Haryana saw a mixed response to the nationwide shutdown on Tuesday and no incidents of violence were reported so far.
The shutdown evoked partial response in Panchkula district, while several shops and other commercial establishments were closed in Ambala city.
Naraingarh and Barara towns of Ambala district observed complete shutdown.
In Hisar, a complete closure was observed by the traders and shopkeepers to protest the price rise.
While, there was partial response to the bandh in Kurukshetra district, while in Bhiwani, it evoked good response.
In Sirsa, shops were closed, while in Karnal there was mixed response.
Rail and road traffic in the state was plying normally though private transport was off the road at some places.
Government offices and other establishments were also functioning as per routine.
No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere so far, officials said.
Guwahati: Even as no incident of violence was reported from the main northeastern state, offices, markets and educational institutions remained closed during the shutdown period.
Attendance in the state secretariat and other government offices was thin, an official said.
Vehicles remained off the roads with long-distance buses and city service buses not plying.
Train services have been affected with Rajdhani Express, Saraighat Express, North East Express, Kamrup Express and some other trains rescheduled.
Air services have been also affected with several incoming flights from Delhi and Kolkata not arriving. Return flights have been either cancelled or rescheduled consequently.