Three-wheelers stay off the roads in Patna during strike

Patna, Jan 8 (PTI) The strike called by trade unions and farmers bodies had a perceptible impact in Bihar where people hit the streets on Wednesday demanding workers rights and denouncing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed country-wide implementation of NRC.

The Left parties have extended their support to the strike.

The state capital woke up to huge inconveniences caused by auto-rickshaws staying off the roads, throwing normal life out of gear in a city where public transport is virtually non-existent and the three-wheeler is the most popular form of commute.

'We are in support of the strike called by central trade unions. We stand with the various outfits in their demands to which we add our own the ban on diesel vehicles imposed by the state government be immediately called off', declared Ajay Patel, president of the Auto Mens Union, Patna.

The Nitish Kumar government had decided to ban, as an anti-pollution measure, diesel-run auto-rickshaws from January 31 this year while providing subsidies to vehicle owners for CNG conversion.

'It is not going to be confined to auto-rickshaws only. Those engaged in driving buses, trucks, lorries besides mechanics working at garages are being seen on the streets', Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of All India Transport Workers Federation said.

On the streets of the city, thousands of men and women marched carrying gigantic banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands and critical of 'divisive government policies', beside names of parties like CPI, CPI(M) and CPI (ML) and affiliates like All India Progressive Womens Association.

A large number of Anganwadi workers, wearing headbands inscribed with slogans opposing the Labour Code Bill and demanding regularization of jobs and increase in wages were also seen among the protesters.

In Begusarai, a Left bastion till the 1990s, which had earned the district the epithet 'Leningrad of Bihar', striking workers staged demonstrations at various places. At one such demonstration in Balia block, hundreds of woman stood carrying a banner calling 'vibhajankari' (divisive) the recently introduced CAA, the NPR which is underway and the NRC which is expected to be implemented in future.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Nawada and Bhagalpur districts.

The strike led to less than normal attendance at banks, government offices and educational institutions where those owing allegiance to the trade unions involved in the strike stayed off work.

However, no incident of violence or conflict was reported from anywhere across the state, police sources said.

The strike has been called by trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC, along with various sectoral independent federations and associations.

Their demands include a minimum pension of Rs 6,000 for everyone, minimum support price (MSP) for farmers, adequate supply of ration to people. PTI NAC RG RG