10 Latest Developments

Bharat bandh: public transport, banking services hit; 1 dead in clashes in Ambala

New Delhi The two-day Bharat bandh called by 11 major trade unions today severely impacted banking services, crippled public transport in cities and claimed one person's life in violence. Trade unionists said 10 crore workers will be taking part in the strike. Industry body Assocham estimates that the loss to the economy will be Rs 15000-20000 crore.
Here are the latest developments:
  1. In Ambala, a trade union leader was crushed by a public transport bus that he was trying to stop from being put on service. Violence erupted soon after - angry workers damaged police vehicles and clashed with policemen.
  2. Transport has been the first casualty of the strike in Delhi. Passengers arriving at New Delhi railway station were stranded as taxis and auto-rickshaws either refused them or overcharged. One passenger said an autorickshaw driver demanded Rs 2000 for a ride. Another driver was thrashed by his colleagues for agreeing to take a passenger.
  3. In Mumbai, banks were shut but trains and buses were running normally and government offices were open. There were no reports of disruptions at the Mumbai airport; the airport union has decided not to participate in the strike. Around 100 Left activists tried to stop suburban trains at Andheri but were prevented by the police.
  4. The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal has adopted a no work, no pay policy for today and tomorrow. State employees have been warned they will not be paid if they joined the strike. The Kerala government has issued a similar warning.
  5. The strike did not have much impact in Kolkata. Flights were taking off as scheduled and there were more taxis and public buses on the roads than usually seen during shutdowns. Markets were mostly open. Passengers at the Howrah railway station however complained they had trouble getting pre-paid taxis.
  6. Transport and banking were hit in Kerala. Buses, autorickshaws and taxis were not running and schools, colleges and shops were closed. The busiest bus station in Thiruvananthapuram was deserted. Around 5,000 workers joined protest marches organised across the state. 
  7. Assocham has appealed to the trade unions not to join the strike. Its president Rajkumar Dhoot said banking, insurance and industrial production may take a hit. Even the agriculture sector would be affected as the movement of vegetables, a highly perishable item, would be disrupted.
  8. The major unions participating in the strike are Bhartiya Mazdoor Sabha, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), HMS, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC). 
  9. The unions have put forward 10 demands, which mainly relate to checking price rise, creating jobs, halting disinvestment in public sector enterprises and implementing labour laws.
  10. In Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, 50,000 state road transport employees were on strike. Some 9,000 government buses were off the roads.
Story First Published: February 20, 2013 08:09 IST

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