Bandh Evokes Mixed Response in West Bengal
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The NDA-sponsored bandh to protest against the petrol price hike evoked a mixed response in the metropolis and other parts of West Bengal today with sporadic rail and road blockades reported in some places.

No major incident was reported so far from any part of the state, though there have been some incidents of vandalism and blockades by bandh supporters, ADG (Law and Order) Surojit Kar Purokayastha said.

Around 700 bandh supporters, including BJP state president Rahul Sinha were arrested from different places of the state, the ADG said.

Sinha, along with other BJP leaders and supporters were arrested from Coochbehar town in north Bengal, he said.

The situation in the industrial belts in the state and tea gardens in north Bengal was normal, Purokayastha said.

Trains were stopped at several stations in the Sealdah and Howrah divisions of Eastern and South Eastern Railway, but the blockades were lifted by police and even by passengers in some places.

Shops and other establishments were open in most places, but remained closed in certain areas in the state including at Barabazar, the largest wholesale goods hub in eastern India, where BJP has a good presence.

The Kolkata Police arrested 35 bandh supporters from different parts of the metropolis for vandalising vehicles and blocking roads.

A few buses and some other vehicles were damaged at Barasat, an important junction connecting the city to north Bengal and Bangladesh, in the morning by bandh enforcers. MORE

A road block was put up at Howrah Bridge at around 9.00 AM to disrupt rush hour traffic, but the police promptly removed the obstruction normalising vehicle movement.

A private bus was also set on fire in Howrah city by the bandh supporters, the police said.

Air services were normal and all flights have landed and left the NSCBI Airport on time, airport sources said.

Underground train services in the city were running normally, Metro Railway sources said.

While state-run buses were seen on the roads in large numbers, the number of private buses and taxis on the roads were lesser than other days.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made by the West Bengal government to ensure normal life in the state. The government had earlier issued a circular asking employees to report for duty and that no leave would be granted today.

Though the bandh supporters tried to put up blockades at Salt Lake's Sector V, the state's IT hub, the police intervened and ensured normalcy.

Four pairs of EMU locals on Howrah-Kharagpur section have been cancelled, but all morning Up trains left Howrah and Shalimar as per scheduled time, South Eastern Railway sources said.

Due to agitations in stations of Kharagpur-Bhadrak Section, several mail express trains including Puri-Howah Sri Jagannath Express, New Delhi-Puri Express, Guwahati-Thiruvananthapuram Express, Baripada-Bhubaneswar Express, Puri-Howrah Garib Rath Express were controlled at different stations, SER sources said.
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