New Delhi: The day-long ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by 10 central trade unions was observed across the country on Wednesday. The transportation system, including the bus and railway services, was severely affected in many parts of the country. The states which were most affected by the general strike include West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala.
In all, 10 Central trade unions along with different federations participated in the ‘Bharat Bandh’ to protest against ‘anti-worker policies of the Central government’. Here are the top developments of the general strike.
- The general strike was largely witnessed in West Bengal with protesters blocking railway tracks in Howrah and Kanchrapara area. They raised anti-government slogans and criticised the Center for its policies. The strike was also seen in Siliguri. A North Bengal State Transport Corporation(NBSTC) bus driver was seen wearing a helmet in wake of protests during Bharat Bandh.
- Over 500 people were detained in Odisha in the wake of the strike. The places which were severely affected by the strike were Talcher, Bhubaneswar, Brahmapur, Bhadrak and Kendujhargarh. Due to the protests, a number of trains were detained en route at different stations. Such trains include Bhadrak-Brahmapur passenger at Bhadrak, Kendujhargarh-Bhubaneswar passenger at Kendujhargarh, Bhubaneswar-Balangir InterCity at Bhubaneswar, Howrah-Yesvantpur Express at Brahmapur, Ichhapur-Cuttack MEMU at Brahmapur and Puri-Rourkela passenger at Bhubaneswar.
- Similar protests were also held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The general strike has thrown normal life out of gear in Kerala. All the shops were closed and private vehicles were kept off the roads. Banking services in the state has also come to a standstill. The state transport utility Kerala State Road Transportation (KSRTC) stopped operating any services in the wake of the protests. Baring a few minor incidents, no major untoward incidents were reported in the state.
- The general strike was also seen in Tamil Nadu and Bihar’s Patna. In Tamil Nadu, the protest was held on Mount road in Chennai. Few protesters tried to stop trains at Rajendra Nagar Railway Station in Patna, however security personnel removed managed to stop them.
- The effect of the general strike was less seen in Mumbai as locals didn’t face problems in commuting and informed that trains services are normal in the city.
- Apart from trade unions, the general strike also received support from several political parties and leaders. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stated that the “anti-people” and “anti-labour” policies of the centre have created ‘catastrophic’ unemployment in the country.
- The Shiv Sena also slammed the Central government and extended support to the general strike, saying in the ‘first tenure of Cental government, the industry and labour class was badly affected due to its decisions like demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST)’
- As a result of the general strike, the banking services in Gujarat and Telangana were severe hit and people suffered a lot. Banking services in Gujarat were partially affected as many of the employees associated with All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) joined the strike. Some nationalised banks in the state were shut or were partially functional.
- Apart from banking services, the business in the market went as usual in Telangana. Most of the shops and business establishments were open in the state and transport services were unaffected by the strike.
- Despite the rain and severe snowfall, massive protests were seen in Himachal Pradesh. Trade unions in Shimla, Manali and other parts of the state joined in the day-long protest and raised slogans against the central government. Hundreds of protesters were seen taking out processions through the towns. However, shops, business establishments and transport services worked well and remained unaffected.
The day-long general strike, which is also known as Bharat Bandh, was called by all 10 Central trade unions along with different federations. The trade unions include AIUTUC, CITU, INTUC, among others. They had a 12-point charter of demand which they wanted to be addressed by the central government.