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Bharat Bandh partially hits banking services, normal life

Most of the banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), had informed their customers about the proposed strike and likely impact on the services in advance
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 28 March 2022, 12:45 IST
Last Updated : 28 March 2022, 12:45 IST
Last Updated : 28 March 2022, 12:45 IST
Last Updated : 28 March 2022, 12:45 IST

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Tens of thousands of workers across the country on Monday went on a two-day general strike against the Narendra Modi government, partially hitting banking and transport services in several places across India.

Ten central trade unions that called the strike — INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC — claimed around 20 crore workers joined the general strike, which had more impact in Kerala and West Bengal where banking and public transport services were thrown out of gear.

Essential services were not hit but workers in coal, telecom, port and docks, petroleum, steel, cement and power sectors went on strike in various locations. Unions said the majority of the anganwadi, ASHA, and other scheme workers joined the strike as well as those in the plantation and textile sectors.

Industrial areas in several states including Delhi, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, saw workers staging protests. Power sector workers went on strike across the country, including in Maharashtra, where the state government had invoked ESMA while a large number of employees picketed Union government offices in Tamil Nadu.

Reports from West Bengal said normal life was hit with protesters blocking roads and stopping the movement of trains. In Kerala, state road transport buses, auto rickshaws and private buses did not ply but essential services were not affected. In Haryana, state transport workers joined the strike which hit public transport.

AITUC General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur said, "More than 20 crore workers, employees and the rural labour came out in massive protest action all over the country on the first day of the 2-day strike today."

CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said the strike call was given "not merely on immediate demands of the workers but against the anti-national destructive policies" of the Narendra Modi government. "This general strike turned into a bandh in many states, particularly in Kerala and Tripura and also in several districts of Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal and Assam as public transport, both government and private, came to a halt," he said.

The CITU claimed that the strike in private manufacturing units in Bengaluru industrial areas like Bommasandra, Bidapi, Peenyan, Whitefield, Hoskote and Dabaspet was total. Similarly, it said, Cherlapalli industrial area near Hyderabad was totally closed. The power loom and spinning mill workers in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu and Haryana joined the strike almost entirely.

In the coal sector, CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said over 60 per cent of workers participated in the strike and several collieries were completely closed. "In Southern Eastern Coalfields Ltd, it is more than 80 per cent. In WCL, it is more than 60 per cent. In certain areas there is a complete strike. In other collieries the coal dispatch was stopped because there was no production," he said.

Steel sector also saw workers of state-owned SAIL, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) and NMDC joining the two-day protest, which company officials said impacted production. Around 8,000 non-executive workers out of 11,000 in RINL did not report for work.

Rajesh Sandhu, Secretary of NMDC Sanyukt Khadaan Mazdoor Sangh said work at important mining complexes like Bacheli in Chhattisgarh and Donimalai in Karnataka are completely closed. He said around 10,000 non-executive employees of NDMC are on strike.

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Published 28 March 2022, 05:30 IST

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