More reports on: Government policies

Bharat bandh partial, banking and transport services most affected

02 September 2015

The one-day nationwide strike, called by 10 central trade unions to protest changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs, affected normal life in most parts of the country, especially in West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as workers belonging to these unions observed a day-long strike.

Trade union leaders claimed that around 150 million workers representing the formal sector participated in the strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.

BJP-backed BMS and NFITU, however, stayed away from the strike.

The Bharat bandh called by trade unions mainly affected banking, transport services and commuters were the hardest hit in Delhi as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads.

Office-goers and students were especially hit hard by the strike during morning hours.

In Mumbai, however, transport services in the city remained unaffected today, as suburban train services, autorickshaws and BEST city buses were operating normally despite the one-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions.

Train services were unaffected by the strike as the railways has been excluded from the strike.

In West Bengal, opposition CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress workers clashed during the general strike called by trade unions. Nearly 200 persons were arrested from different parts of the state.

Police sources said CPI(M) and TMC workers clashed at Baharampore and a few other places in Murshidabad district although details were yet to be received.

Public transport was partially affected in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh as workers' union joined the one-day nationwide strike. Public transport at several places in Haryana was affected as employees of Haryana Roadways also went on strike.

Bank customers faced inconvenience as employees of public sector banks excluding SBI were also on strike today.

In Goa, streets looked deserted during morning hours as private buses and state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd (KTCL) buses remained off the roads.

Towns of Calangute, Ponda and Bicholim remained totally shut. All shops and transport remained closed in support of the strike.

The strike, however, has been peaceful, according to organisers.

Public sector banks remained closed for the day in most parts of Bihar as employees opted to stage demonstration to protest against the NDA government's proposal to privatise banks.

Auto-rickshaws stayed off the road, while public transport functioned normal, official sources said. Schools, colleges and shops remained open in the state.

The strike affected production at Coal India, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, where production fell to 50 per cent of normal level of 1.7 million tonnes.

"About 50 per cent of the production has been hit as in most of the mines there is attendance by 50% workers," Coal India Director Personnel R Mohan Das told news agency Press Trust of India.

Banking transactions were severely impacted across the country as around 1.3 million workers, mainly from the public sector banks, were on strike.

Offices of the Reserve Bank of India were fully functional. However, operations at bank branches, especially of public sector banks, were affected by strike in Mumbai.

The activities in foreign exchange and money market were smooth, dealers said.

The impact was most visible in some of the non-BJP states such as Kerala, Tripura, Karnataka, Odisha and some impact was seen in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Industry chamber Assocham said the disruption in essential services might lead to an estimated loss of over Rs25,000 crore. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said the impact of the strike on industries was partial.

Despite several round of consultation with the government, trade unions have failed to get the government to accept their views.

The government, on the other hand, said it would continue dialogue with central trade unions for concrete solution to the issues.

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