PTI Photo
A view of a closed bank in Allahabad on the first day of the two day strike called by the national trade unions and state and central government employee federations in Allahabad.
Trade Unions' Strike Cripples Normal Life Across India
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The two-day nationwide strike called by 11 major trade unions paralysed banking and transport services across India. The strike evoked mixed response.

West Bengal: Govt Employees Warned Against Strike

In West Bengal, the situation was normal and peaceful. Shops and markets were mostly open in the metropolis.

Private buses and taxis were less, though state buses were present in large number on the roads, police sources said.

Commissioner of Kolkata Police Surajit Karpurakayastha was on the roads in the morning to review security.

ADG (law and order) Banibrata Basu said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

The West Bengal government has issued a warning to employees against being absent during the strike.

The state government has also asked shops and markets to remain open or face administrative action, including cancellation of trade licence.

CITU leaders have criticised the state government for this saying that it was undemocratic and illegal.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that her administration would ensure that life was normal and there would be no shutdown in the state.

She has also said that the government would pay in case of damage caused during the strike.

Delhi: 'I had to pay Rs 180 for an autorickshaw ride'

School children and office-goers suffered the most as most auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers either refused or overcharged them. 

The Delhi Metro saw heavy passenger rush during the peak hours in the morning and evening.

"I had to pay Rs 180 for a autorickshaw ride from Moti Bag to Central Secretariat. The fare for the stretch in a normal day is around Rs 80," said Ajeet Singh, a government official.

The Delhi government, however, claimed that the strike did not have any impact on the transport sector. Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami said commuters did not face any inconvenience as enough buses were pressed into service.

"In total, around 8,000 buses were on the roads to ferry passengers," Goswami said.

The government put "all sorts" of pressure so that they do not go on strike, a section of the DTC employees claimed.

Though police said no violence was reported during the strike, a minor clash erupted in New Delhi Railway stations between two trade union members and police intervened to disperse them. 

"I had to stand in the queue at INA Metro station for around 45 minutes as most people decided to take the Metro following the strike. By the time I reached office, I was late by an hour," Shikha Tiwari, who works at an airline company at Connaught Place, said.

Uttar Pradesh: Workers Indulge in Loot in Noida

Workers went on a rampage in Noida Phase 2 area and damaged industrial properties. The employees damaged several vehicles including a fire engine and police jeep this morning, ADG Law and Order Arun Kumar said here.

The government has directed the Meerut commissioner to get the matter probed by an additional commissioner level officer, he added.

Refuting allegations that the violence erupted after one person was lynched and police indulged in firing and lathi charge, the ADG said that the strike which was primarily aimed at government sector also got to spread to the unorganised private sector in Noida.

"Only rubber bullets were fired to disperse the mob", he said.

The ADG said that so far 14 people have been arrested in connection with the incidents in Noida and efforts were on to ascertain as to which trade union they are attached with.

"Some of the looted hosiery material has also been recovered", he said.

PAC and RAF has been deployed in the area, the ADG said adding that there was no untoward incident elsewhere in the state.

With the roadways employees joining the stir, pilgrims at the ongoing Maha Kumbh mela faced a tough time .

Mumbai: Strike Fails to Impact Normal Life

The strike failed to impact normal life in Mumbai though it left the financial sector paralysed. Banking and insurance operations were completely shut due to 100 per cent participation by the employees.

Suburban railway, the city's life line, functioned normally and road traffic was unaffected though there were fewer passengers using public transport.

Kerala: 'No work, no pay'

In Kerala, workers from varied sectors, including transport and banking, staying away from work to protest the UPA government's economic and labour policies.

The Congress-led UDF government has declared 'dies non' (no work, no pay) as pro-Left service and teachers unions are also striking work.

Emergency services like health care, milk supply and media have been exempted from the strike, AITUC leader Kanam Rajendran said.

Apart from unions owing allegiance to the Left, the pro-Congress INTUC and pro-BJP BMS are also participating in the strike.

However, pro-UDF government service and teachers unions have not joined the strike.

Punjab and Haryana: Trade Union Leader Dies After Being Hit by a Bus

A trade union leader died after being hit by a bus in Ambala, Haryana when he was trying to stop it from plying, sparking tension in the district where authorities have imposed prohibitory orders.

55-year-old Narendra Singh, who was squatting along with a group of workers near the local bus depot, died when he was hit by the bus, a senior Roadways official said.

Ambala Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi said initial official investigations have revealed that the death was a "case of accident".

However, on the demand of the Roadways employees, the incident would be thoroughly investigated and necessary action would be taken, Vidyarthi said.

In the evening, 12 persons including two scribes were injured during a lathi charge by the police in Ambala to disperse the protesting Roadways employees from blocking the natioinal highway.

"Majority of buses from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on inter-state routes did not ply in the wake of strike call," said a senior official of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking here today.

Private bus and taxi operators had a field day because of non-plying of public transport buses as they charged "heavily" from hapless commuters for transportation services, reports suggested.

"Employees of all public sector banks as well as old private banks will observe strike and banking transactions will be impacted," said Naresh Gaur, Secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation.

Due to the strike, cheques worth several crore of rupees remained uncleared in all the public sector banks and forex transactions could not be carried out, said a bank employee.

"Because of public sector banks remaining non-operational, our forex transactions and opening of Letter of Credit (LC) were disturbed," Trident Textile, MD, P K Markande said.

About 2,000 contractual labourers and Safai Karamcharis observed strike while PGI authorities claimed that they had asked its permanent staff to perform duties of striking workers in order to prevent any disruption in medical services.

Reports pouring in from various parts of the region including Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ambala indicated members of trade unions carried out protest march and blocked traffic to display their anger against alleged anti-employee policies of Centre.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by CITU Punjab General Secretary Raghunath Singh claimed receiving massive response from industrial workers and employees of center and state government departments.

Andhra Pradesh: Thousands of Protesters Taken Into Custody

Employees of various PSU banks and workers in the unorganised sector took out protest rallies in Hyderabad and many other parts of the state.

AITUC state unit president and MLC P J Chandrasekhar Rao claimed that the strike was held in an unprecedented manner with staff of state-run miner Singareni Collieries, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) also joining the agitation.

He claimed 75 per cent of APSRTC buses, the principal mode of public transport in Andhra Pradesh, remained off the roads.

Thousands of protesters were taken into custody by the police and released in the evening, he claimed.

A bank employees' union representative claimed that employees of various banks, including cooperative, rural and even some private banks, participated in the strike, leading to paralysing the banking activities in the state.

Karnataka: Stray Incidents of Stone Pelting

Barring stray incidents of stone pelting in Bellary, the nationwide strike evoked a mixed response across Karnataka.

Sources said some persons pelted stones at some buses and blocked roads in Bellary while normal life was hit in Koppal, with buses, autorickshaws and other transport off the roads, officials said.

In Bangalore, no untoward incidents were reported. Shops and educational institutes remained closed, while state transport services operated lesser number of buses. Autos were off roads and there was no disruption in train services.

Gujarat: 'Trips of about 8,000 buses stopped'

In Gujarat, workers from varied sectors, including transport and banking, refrained from work. Banking services were crippled as over 12,000 officers and 35,000 other banking employees joined the nation wide strike call given by the United Forum for Bank Union (UFBU).

"Employees of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) joined the strike call for 24 hours from yesterday night, as a result trips of around 8,000 buses have stopped in the state," said GSRTC secretary P D Patel.

Also, around 4,500 employees of LIC across the state have joined hands with the striking workers of banking and other public sector industry, said S I Bhatt, General Secretary LIC employees Union, Gujarat Division.

Jharkhand: FIR Filed Against People Disrupting Train Services

Shops, markets, schools, colleges and government offices were open. Vehicles also plied normally in the roads, official sources said.

Leaders of the striking unions forced the employees and the labour force from entering offices of LIC, banks, collieries and other mineral areas across the state, affecting routine business, according to police sources.

Loading and unloading of minerals were also affected following roads blockades at several places, they said.

Train services were affected for an hour when CPI (M)-Liberation activists squatted on tracks at Hazaribagh Road, Tori and Koderma, the Divisional Commander ( Railway Protection Force) Shashi Kumar told PTI.

"FIR has been lodged against 17 known persons and more than 30 unknown persons under various sections for disrupting train services for about an hour," he added.

Assistant Commercial Manager (Ranchi Rail Division) Arjun Majumdar said, "No train was affected in the areas under Ranchi Division."

CITU's Jharkhand Chapter General Secretary D D Ramanandan claimed that loading, unloading and production of coal badly affected in all the collieries under the CCL and the BCCL as the employees joined the strike.

Federation of Jharkhand Chambers and Industries member Manoj Naredi estimated, "The industry and disruption of banking service resulted in a loss of approximately Rs 200 crore due to the strike."

Tamil Nadu: Majority of Shops Open, Transport Services Normal

In Tamil Nadu, a majority of shops remained open and transport services plied normally.

However, banking services were hit hard as most public and private sector banks remained closed.

Buses were operated from the city to other parts of Tamil Nadu, but not to Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi as they were stopped at the border.

Rajasthan: '20,000 state roadways employees participated in strike'

In Rajasthan, banks branches are closed and state roadways buses are also not plying. However, there was no significant impact on school buses and autorickshaws.

20,000 state roadways employees are fully participating in the strike and not a single bus was operated today, General Secretary Rajasthan State Roadways Employees Union Dharmveer Chaudhary said.

A joint statement by the unions said the strike was "completely successful" and made an environment against the union government's anti-labour policies.

Police said no untoward incident took place in the state during the strike.

Assam: Shops, Banking, Transport Services Hit

Normal life was affected in different parts of Assam. While buses operated by private owners kept off the roads across the state, city buses began to ply as the day progressed along with the state-run buses.

Shops were closed in most areas, official sources said. Banks also remained closed with employees keeping away from their work place.

Madhya Pradesh: 'Over 1 crore empolyees supporting strike'

Banking, Insurance and other commercial activities in Madhya Pradesh were largely affected.

"As per our reports over one crore employees and workers belonging to organised and unorganised sectors are taking part in the two-day-long strike affecting banking, insurance, postal and other commercial activities," Trade Union Joint Front spokesman, Pushan Bhattacharya told PTI.

Nagaland: Shops, Markets Remain Open

Normal life remained unaffected in Nagaland but banking services across the state were severely affected.

While nationalised banks and insurance corporation employees joined the strike, shops and markets were open and vehicles were plying normally on the roads, official sources said.

Jammu: Strike Evokes Little Response

The nationwide strike evoked little response in Jammu with vehicular traffic plying normally and shops and business establishment performing routine business.

However, all nationalised banks except state-owned Jammu and Kashmir Bank remained closed amid protests by the several bank associations.

Dehradun: Buses Off the Roads

Normal life was partially affected across Uttarakhand.

Roadways buses remained off the roads and bank branches were closed in support of the bandh call. With banks closed, unusual rush of people was seen at ATMs in the city.

Goa: Over 2,000 Workers Take Out Protest March

The situation remained normal in Goa even as industries were partially hit and nationalised banks remained closed as a part of two-day long nationwide strike call given by labour unions.

Over 2,000 workers took out a march today on the streets of Panaji, peacefully in support of the Central Trade Unions' various demands.

The nationalised banks remained closed while private banks did not pull down their shutters.

Puducherry: Almost Total Absence of Workers in Industrial Units

Banking services and industry were hit hard in Puducherry  in response to the nationwide two day strike.

Industrial units were hit with almost total absence of the workers, a spokesman of the organizing committee of the trade unions said.

Schools functioned normally and autorickshwas plied as usual. Inter state and intra state buses operated normal services.

Himachal Pradesh: Shops, Markets, Banks Closed

Life was partially affected in Himachal Pradesh with the situation remaining peaceful.

Shops, markets and commercial establishments were closed across the state, while buses, autos and taxis were plying as usual.

Banking operations remained paralysed in the state.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Daily Mail

Feb 21, 2013
08:31 AM

 I went out yesterday and found traffic on the roads as heavy as ever. I did see a few shops with shutters down. 

Bonita, Chennai
Feb 20, 2013
11:41 PM

 With declining memberships of trade and labour unions, their significance in the new world order is waning slowly and steadily. Communism is all but over if it can't make yuppies change into  proletariats. 

AbhishekSharman, New Delhi
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