New Delhi: The two-day Bharat bandh called by 11 major trade unions from today paralysed banking services across the country and shut down public transport in cities. Factories in Noida came under attack and a trade union activist died in violence in Ambala. Union Minister V Narayanasamy appealed to the unions to call off their strike, which industry body Assocham estimates will cause of loss of Rs 15000-20000 crore.
Here are the latest developments:
- During the bandh, factories in a hosiery complex in Noida's phase 2 were targeted and vehicles vandalised and set on fire. Factory owners told NDTV almost all building and warehouses in the complex were found vandalised, with glass on facades found broken. Some factory-owners claim their property was looted. More police forces were rushed to the industrial belt. (See pics: Factories, cars attacked in Noida)
- Violence erupted at a bus station in Ambala, Haryana earlier in the day. A trade union activist died when hit by a bus he was trying to stop from being put on service. Angry protesters damaged police vehicles and clashed with policemen. (One dead in Ambala clash)
- Public transport was the biggest 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 beaten up by fellow drivers for agreeing to take a passenger.
- 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. (Mumbai shrugs off bandh)
- The West Bengal and Kerala governments have adopted a no work, no pay policy for today and tomorrow. Government employees have been warned of salary cuts if they joined the strike. (Mamata says no work, no pay)
- The strike did not have much impact in Kolkata. Flights were on schedule and there were more taxis, public buses and private vehicles 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. (Impact of strike on economy)
- The bandh was total 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. (Strike shuts down Kerala)
- In Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, 50,000 state road transport employees were on strike. Some 9,000 government buses were off the roads.
- 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).
- 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. (Trade unions' demands)