Bharat Bandh hits normal life across the country
08 January 2019
The two-day Bharat Bandh called by ten trade unions against "anti-labour policies" of the central government disrupted normal life in many parts of the country today as striking workers stopped trains and buses and auto-rickshaws kept off roads.
In Maharashtra, over 5,000 strikers blocked the Mumbai-Baroda-Jaipur-Delhi national highway at Charoti in Maharashtra's Palghar district. The blockade is being led by several leaders from the CPI (M), AIKS, CITU, AIDWA and DYFI, including Ashok Dhawale, L B Dhangar, Barkya Mangat and Radka Kalangda.
Sporadic violence has been reported in West Bengal, Odisha and Kerala where the left unions have greater strength. Tyres were burnt and buses were vandalised at many places in West Bengal. Protesters blocked roads and obstructed train services in all the three states. Around 20 crore workers of the Central Trade Unions (CTU) are participating in the two-day nationwide strike today and tomorrow.
Striking workers stopped trains in Thiruvananthapuram, Tripunithura, Shoranur railway stations, while tyres were burnt in West Bengal to stop buses from plying in the roads. In Odisha, shops, markets, business establishments, educational institutions and offices remained closed, while vehicular movement virtually came to a grinding halt.
MPs belonging to Left parties held up placards with slogans like 'Universalise PDS' and 'Stop Contract Work' outside the Parliament in a show of support to the striking worker.
Odisha CM and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik led a protest rally at Delhi's Talkatora stadium to demand an increase in the minimum support price of paddy and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report.
Workers allege that the proposed Trade Union (Amendment) Bill 2018 as cleared by the union cabinet is designed to impose conditions of slavery on the working people and abrogate trade union rights.
In Puducherry, protesters attacked a Tamil Nadu government bus going from Puducherry to Cuddalore. A few demonstrators started flinging stones at the bus following a tussle with the police. Buses and auto rikshaws kept off the road and shops remain closed in the union territory.