Kolkata: Normal life was thrown out of gear on Friday across West Bengal with rail and road traffic severely affected in the wake of a 12-hour state bandh called by the Congress to protest against the attack allegedly by CPI(M) supporters on its MLAs at Mangalkot in Burdwan district.
However, flight operations from NSC Bose International airport were normal in the early hours of the day.
Domestic flights from Kolkata to New Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati, Silchar and Port Blair along with international flights took off early today, Airport sources said.
Air passengers arrived at the airport much before the bandh began at 6 am, they said adding, “Some flights scheduled to leave in the afternoon were either cancelled or rescheduled.”
Railway sources said train services from Howrah and Sealdah divisions were severely hit due to squatting of bandh supporters on the rail track at several locations.
An Eastern Railway spokesperson said at least eight trains including New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Sealdah Rajdhani Expresses were stranded at were various stations due to squatting of bandh supporters on rail tracks.
Eight express trains including Howrah-Ranchi Shatabdi Express, have been cancelled, officials said.
Train services were also hit on the South Eastern Railway and four trains including Howrah-Barbil Janashatabdi Express, have been cancelled.
Skeleton vehicular movement was seen on the city roads. A few private bus owners operated their buses. The state government, although had decided to run its full-fledged service, the number of buses were found to be insufficient.
Shops and educational institutions remained closed. The bandh prompted Calcutta, Jadavpur, Kalyani and Burdwan universities to postpone Friday’s under-graduate and post- graduate exams to be undertaken by over two lakh students.
Some 5000 policemen were deployed on the road after yesterday’s rampage by Congress supporters who damaged buses. Hundred extra police pickets and an equal number of extra heavy radio flying squad were deployed in the city.
Meanwhile, IG (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said, so far, no incident of violence barring one of vandalising of a state bus coming from Balurghat to Kolkata by bandh supporters at Baguihati near Kolkata was reported.
Life has been severely hit in north Bengal districts where Congress wields considerable influence. It has also affected industrial towns of Durgapur and Asansol.
Meanwhile, extending its “moral support” to the bandh, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said a state-sponsored terrorism, targetting Opposition leaders and supporters, has been unleashed in the state since CPI-M’s defeat in Lok Sabha polls and asked the Centre to “intervene” immediately.
Thursday, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had in the Assembly condemned Wednesday’s attack on Congress MLAs and admitted that administration’s “lapses” led the situation to slip out of control.