CITU workers block tracks in Guwahati. (Express photo by Dasarath Deka)
Normal life was hit in Assam as vehicles remained off roads and markets were shut due to the strike. Educational institutions remained closed and public transport, both local and long distance, kept off the roads. Petrol pumps were also shut. Though most private offices were not operating, state government offices remained open.
The 24-hour strike called by trade unions was near total in Kerala. Although the tourism sector was exempted from the shutdown, Nobel laureate Michael Levitt felt the heat of trade unions after his houseboat was blocked in the middle of the backwaters near Alappuzha by agitators. Elsewhere, trade unions forced shops and establishments to down shutters and prevented even private vehicles from plying. University exams were postponed, educational institutions and commercial establishments remained shut. Hundreds of railway passengers were stranded. Government offices reported thin attendance and ministers did not turn up at offices.
The strike received a tepid response in Mumbai, with no major disruptions in transport or essential services. Some shops and establishments, however, stayed shut. A crowd gathered at the Azad Maidan to support the strike. Dr Ashok Dhawale, president of All India Kisan Sabha, said rallies were held in Bhandup, Andheri and suburbs.
Haryana & Punjab
The strike by Haryana Roadways employees affected public transport at many places. Employees’ associations claim a large number of employees from other government departments too joined the strike. Haryana Roadways Employees Coordination Committee has claimed that as many as 2,650 buses out of the 3,280 in the fleet did not ply on Wednesday.
In Punjab, representatives of trade unions and roadways unions held protests at several places, including Ludhiana and Bathinda.
Banking and financial operations were affected in Rajasthan where thousands of employees participated in the bandh. Roadways buses and autorickshaw services were partially affected, particularly in areas like Sikar, Ganganagar and Hanumangarh. Workers of textile and cement industries and krishi mandis also participated in the strike.
Andhra & Telangana
Banking services across Telangana were severely hit. However, most shops and business establishments were open. Operations in all public sector banks except SBI were affected. In Andhra Pradesh, leaders of the Congress, CPI and CPM were taken into custody during the strike. Reports said employees stayed off duties in various PSUs and most banks remained shut. — ENS & PTI