New Delhi: With autos and taxis off the roads and buses packed to capacity, commuters across the nation had a harrowing time as the two-day nationwide strike called by various trade unions began on Wednesday.

Central trade unions called this strike as their talks with the government failed to reach a conclusion. The unions have demanded concrete measures for containing inflation, steps for employment generation, universal social security and making the minimum wage Rs.10,000 per month along with daily allowance.

The strike has been called jointly by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other such central organisations.

Public transport hit in Delhi

New Delhi:
Commuters in the city faced hardships as a section of auto-rickshaws and taxis remained off the road in support of the two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions.

Passengers at major railway stations and bus stands remained stranded or had to shell out more to reach their destinations. Five major auto-rickshaw and taxi unions have announced that they will join the strike to demand a hike in auto and taxi fares. Metro services were not affected by the strike, bus services were partially hit by the strike.

To tackle the strike, Delhi government has cancelled leave of all DTC employees and asked senior officials of the corporation to be at bus depots from early morning to ensure a smooth running of the DTC bus service.

Roadways worker killed in Haryana

Ambala (Haryana):
The nationwide strike in Haryana started on a tragic note after a Haryana Roadways employee was crushed under the wheels of a state roadways transport bus early on Wednesday.

Narinder Singh, who was a Haryana Roadways driver, was protesting near the Ambala bus depot gate when district authorities tried to ply bus services forcibly, Haryana Roadways Workers Union's Ambala district president Inder Singh Bhadana said. He said Narinder was crushed under the wheels of a bus and the bus driver escaped from the spot in this town, about 45 km from the state capital Chandigarh.

The accident led to violence with scores of outraged roadways staff and union leaders present at the spot. The vehicles of the district administration officers and police were damaged in the violence.

Bandh disrupts life in Uttar Pradesh

Normal life was disrupted across the Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday during the two-day bharat bandh. While a minor clash was reported from Noida, as angry workers indulged in a fracas at a hosiery complex in phase II and jammed traffic at Mamoora Chowk, no untoward incident was reported from other parts of the state.

City roads in the state capital wore a deserted look as 250 city buses pulled out of regular services and took part in the bandh. Autorickshaws also kept off the roads. With the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) employees taking part in the strike, the 10,000-odd government-run buses too stayed off the roads.

The state government pressed 200 buses into service at the Kumbh in Allahabad.

The bandh was total in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow,  Saharanpur, Unnao, Moradabad and Allahabad. Major markets in Lucknow like Aminabad and Hazratganj were deserted, and operations at post offices and state-run banks were disrupted.

Trains, road services hit in Bihar

Thousands of people were stranded across Bihar on the first day of two-day nationwide strike as trains were stopped and key highways blocked by activists affiliated to various trade unions.

Workers of trade unions stopped nearly a dozen passenger and long-distance trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Hajipur, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga railway stations. "Train services have been badly hit since morning due to the bandh, leaving passengers stranded at railway stations," a railway official said.

Police said strikers blocked national and state highways at various places across the state. The authorities have announced closure of all private schools and institutions in the state capital in view of the shutdown.

Strike partially affects industry in Jharkhand

The nationwide strike partially disrupted industrial work and banking services in Jharkhand. Barring Argada and Jari collieries in Hazaribagh district, other collieries of the Central Coalfields Limited have been functioning normally. There is 90 percent coal production in the collieries.

However, CITU’s Jharkhand Chapter General Secretary D D Ramanandan claimed that loading, unloading and production of coal at various collieries under the CCL and the BCCL were affected as labour force joined the strike demanding controlling price, strict implementation of labour laws and other demands.

The strike also affected banking services in the state. It has partially affected the crusher units, copper industry, steel and iron ore sectors, according to reports.

Partial response in West Bengal

The two-day nationwide strike in West Bengal evoked partial response on the first day.  

Flight services were normal, trains plied despite minor disruptions, but buses, taxis and auto rickshaws largely kept off the roads. Authorities at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport said all flights operated as per schedule, and that there were no cancellations.

Banking services have been crippled, but municipal markets remained open, while shops remained shut in many areas. Attendance was normal in state government offices, particularly the state secretariat Writers' Buildings.

The state government has declared it will not allow strikes in the state, as it caused heavy financial and economic losses. It had earlier issued a notification declaring that all government offices should remain open.

Train services affected in Odisha

A South Eastern Railway spokesman said train services on almost all sections were normal, though some trains had to be halted due to agitations at Balasore and Jaleswar in Odisha. Strike supporters disrupted services at one station on the Eastern Railway route, said an Eastern Railway spokesman.

Strike affects life in AP

The nationwide strike began in Andhra Pradesh with the personnel of various public sector organisations staying away from work. The employees of various public sector banks began protest at the Bank Street at Koti as part of the strike.

In Vijayawada, the trade unions took out a rally and demanded that the government respond to their demands. The staff of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport
Corporation (APSRTC) have also joined the strike in different parts of the state.

Normal life paralyzed in Tripura

Normal life was disrupted on the first day of two-day nationwide strike in Left Front-ruled Tripura on Wednesday.

Shops and markets were closed, as were schools, colleges, banks and financial institutions. Private buses and taxis were off the roads and train service came to a standstill in the state.

CITU workers staged a dharna on the train lines at the Agartala railways station. Flight operations were, however, normal.

Stone pelting incident in Karnataka
Barring stray incidents of stone pelting in Bellary, the nationwide strike evoked a mixed response across Karnataka. According to reports, few people 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.

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.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation Managing Director said that 80 buses were plying in the city and no incident of violence had been reported from anywhere. Services at various hospitals were not affected, as also in Information Technology companies, many of whose employees worked from home.

Security has been tightened across the state, with 17,000 policemen being deployed in the state capital itself.

Strike cripples banking operations in TN

Chennai: According to All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), 12,000 bank branches (8,000 commercial banks, 4,000 co-operative banks) in Tamil Nadu were closed as around 85,000 bankers were on strike.

The bank employees are holding a rally in the state capital. In the general insurance sector, around 35,000 employees have struck work and in many places offices have not been opened.

Strike cripples life in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: The nationwide strike in Kerala appeared to have evoked total response.

Police have made elaborate arrangements at major railways stations and other places to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the strike. A special service has been started to ferry people arriving in long-distance trains.

The houseboat owners at Alappuza, a major tourist destination in the state, have also joined the strike. In Kozhikode, social organisations are providing free food to those stranded at the railway station.All educational institutions are closed in the state.


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