Nationwide strike call evokes partial response in Punjab, Haryana

Chandigarh, Jan 8 (PTI) A day-long nationwide strike call, given by the central trade unions against the government's 'anti-people' policies, on Wednesday evoked partial response in Punjab and Haryana.

Protesters resorted to blocking roads and squatting on rails tracks at a few places and also took out processions against the Central government in support of their demands in Punjab, the police said.

With the state roadways employees joining the nationwide strike, buses remained off road at several places including Amritsar, Nawanshahr, Ludhiana, Roopnagar and Kapurthala in Punjab, causing inconvenience to passengers.

Though a faction of Haryana Roadways had announced to join the strike, public transport services were not affected much, barring a few places including Sirsa and Hisar.

At some bus depots in Haryana, the police ensured protesters do not disrupt plying of buses.

Heavy police force was deployed at several bus depots in Haryana and Punjab to ensure smooth movement of buses, officials said.

       However, there was no impact on private bus services in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh.

Shops and commercial establishments largely remained open in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, officials said.

Banking services were hit in both states and union territory as employees of public sector banks observed strike. Employees under the banner of Punjab Bank Employees Federation held protest rallies at several places at Chandigarh, Ludhiana and other places, office bearer of the Federation claimed.

However, private banks continued to carry out their operations.

Work in the offices of BSNL and LIC was also impacted because of strike.

There was no report of any untoward incident from any place in both states, officials said.

In Amritsar, a few trains including Amritsar-bound Shane Punjab, Shatabdi got delayed after protesters blocked rail tracks in Amritsar while in Ludhiana, three trains including Malwa Express, two passenger and goods trains were stopped by agitators near Giaspura on the outskirts of the city on Ludhiana- Delhi track, officials said.

Protesting farmers also blocked rail track in Mansa.

Expressing anger against the Central government for its anti-people policies, agitators comprising members of trade unions and employees of different departments several blocked roads including Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road in Garhshankar, Sangrur-Chandigarh road in Bhawanigarh, Patiala-Sirhind road in Patiala, Bathinda-Chandigarh and Amritsar-Delhi national highway in Phagwara.

There were reports that some factory workers were stopped from going to work by representatives of trade unions in Jalandhar.

Factories and industrial units remained open in Ludhiana, an industrial hub of Punjab.

The call of various farmers' organisations, which are seeking implementation of Swaminathan Commission report, to stop supplies of milk, vegetables and other items as part of their call to 'rural India bandh' also failed to evoke much response in both states, except at a few places.

A group of farmers waylaid at Sandhuwal village in Patiala to block supplies of vegetables, milk and other commodities from villages to cities.

In Patiala, a student body held protest outside the Punjabi University against the Centre.

       In Haryana, the Sarv Karamchari Sangh state president Subhash Lamba claimed the day-long strike in the state was “successful” and said that almost three lakh employees of different government departments participated in the strike. PTI TEAM CHS VSD MKJ