New Delhi: There could be bad news for air travellers as 11 major trade unions have decided to participate in a two-day nationwide strike starting tomorrow which may cripple operations at various airports across the country.
Industry body Assocham has appealed to the trade unions to call off the strike saying that the economy would take a hit of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore due to disruptions.
"The national economy, battling slowdown, can ill-afford this situation. In fact, the strike would aggravate the price situation because of disruption in the supply line of essential commodities," Assocham president Rajkumar Dhoot said in a statement.
Mr Dhoot said the strike would cripple mostly service sector like banking, insurance and transport, besides industrial production. Even the agriculture sector would be affected as the movement of vegetables, a highly perishable item, would be disrupted.
The employees of the Reserve Bank of India have said they will participate in the two-day strike though the Finance Ministry has appealed to bank employees not to join in.
The strike has been called by Bhartiya Mazdoor Sabha, INTUC, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), HMS, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) among others.
The unions have put forward 10 demands which mainly relate to checking of price rise, generation of employment, halting of disinvestment in public sector enterprises and implementation of labour laws.
States like West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and parts of Uttar Pradesh are likely to be affected significantly.
In Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS has announced its support to the two-day general strike. TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao, in a release, appealed to the party cadres to make the strike a success.
People in Kerala were seen queuing up outside state-owned retail liquor vends or rushing to buy vegetables, meat and fish ahead of the strike. The Kerala government has made elaborate arrangements and directed police to ensure that there is no law and order violation. But roads would be deserted as around 40,000 private buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws may stay go off the roads.
The state government has announced that there would be no pay if its employees do not turn up for work during the strike and has asked office heads to submit attendance statement by 10.30 am on both days.