Strike hits industry, Bengal largely unaffected

Strike hits industry, Bengal largely unaffected

The nation-wide 48 hour strike call by trade unions severely impacted normal life in most parts of the country, while West Bengal remained largely unaffected. Kerala and Delhi were completely hit, while the strike also led to shut downs of major industries in Mumbai.

In Kerala, government offices, educational institutions, industrial and commercial establishments had been hit by the strike on the first day of the general strike.

Fifty persons had been arrested for various violent incidents, as the state witnessed sporadic violence.

Majority of government offices, schools, colleges, banks, shops and hotels remained closed. Attendance at the state secretariat and collectorates.

Barring private vehicles in some parts, the roads remained largely empty. Foreign tourists were stranded, while police vehicles ferried tourists to hotels and home stays.

Lake Cruise in Alappuzha had been thrown out of gear, as workers of houseboats and motorboats joined the strike.

The first day of strike had a near complete effect in Bihar. Trade unions, as a mark of opposition to Foreign Direct Investment in retail, downed their shutters, as also shops and business establishments in Patna.

Schools were closed anticipating trouble, while government offices had thin attendance as main roads were blocked by trade unions activists and agitating bank employees since wWednesday morning.

Train movements are the worst hit in Bihar. Protesters stopped Shramjeevi Express at Nalanda, Vikramshila Express at Bhagalpur and Hatia-Patna Express at Jehanabad. The trains were delayed for several hours due to blockade by agitators.

Banks and financial institutions were closed on Wednesday in Mumbai, where employees participated in the agitations.

Unions in BEST, autorickshaw and taxis, however, stayed out of the strike following calls from the student community who had their board exams on Wednesday.

"All banks...nationalised, private, foreign, rural or cooperative participated in the strike. It was 100 per cent throughout the country,” said Vishwas Utagi, vice-president, All India Bank Employees Association.

Nashik, one of the most important industrial town of Maharashtra reportedly witnessed an estimated production losses of industries worth Rs 50 crore on the first day of strike.

Major manufacturing units like Mahindra & Mahindra, ABB Ltd, VIP, Lear Automotive, Schneiderr, Crompton Greavves Ltd, JBM Auto, Asian Electronics, Epcos, Caprihans came to a grinding halt, while medium enterprises remained unaffected as employees stayed away from the protest.
West Bengal capital Kolkata remained largely unaffected by the strike, barring minor disruptions in suburban train services.

Flight services and trains from Howrah and Sealdah were normal.

According to state transport department, over 1300 state-run buses, 100 more than the regular day, were on the road.

Presence in state government offices were higher than private sectors, as the government had threatened salary cuts and break in services for those absenting from work on Wednesday.
While Mamata Banerjee led government opposed the strike, CITU and other unions accused her of robbing the right to protest.

Impact of the strike had also been seen in neighbouring Odisha, where the state Assembly, which is in session and government offices, functioned normally in capital Bhubaneswar.
However government offices in interior parts of the state did not function.

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