Mamata goes all out to foil shutdown in Bengal

Kolkata, May 30 (IANS) The West Bengal government is making all out efforts to "foil" the NDA sponsored Bharat Bandh (shutdown) Thursday in protest against the recent hike in petrol prices.

The government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already issued notice to all the departments barring the staff from taking leave Thursday and said the traffic will ply normally. On the other hand the state BJP unit is taking efforts to make the National Democratic Alliance nation wide shutdown on May 31 a grand success.

"We will make the shutdown a success in Bengal because the people support the issue over which we are calling this strike," said state Bharatiya Janata Party president Rahul Sinha.

The BJP has accused the central government of increasing the petrol prices despite a fall in the global crude rates.

Petrol prices were increased by Rs.6.28 a litre last week, excluding the taxes, leading to protests.

"The way the state government is trying to foil the bandh (shutdown), we have already achieved our initial success. Because the state government clearly knows that tomorrow's protests will be a grand success," said Sinha.

Senior ministers have asked departmental employees not to join the strikers and series of meetings have been held at the state secretariat to make fool-proof arrangements for keeping life normal Thursday.

"Trams, buses, will hit the roads in large numbers. I had meetings with private operators. Taxis, mini buses, private buses and auto rickshaws will ply normally. The shutdown won't have any effect," said Transport Minister Madan Mitra.