Bandh peaceful, cripples life in state
The major trade unions of the state struck work today, crippling most parts of the state. Although the bandh remained peaceful, office-goers and students had to go through a harrowing time. While taxis and buses remained off road, the supply of vegetables and other commodities was hit severely.
The loss may run into crores, say experts. Daily commuters had a tough time reaching their destinations. Private and HRTC bus service remained suspended in Shimla, Solan, Mandi, Dharamsala, Kullu, Una and Bilaspur.
Workers of private and public commercial establishments, including power projects, cement plants shopping malls and hotels, struck work.
Medical services remained unaffected by the bandh. The CITU, INTUC, AITUC, bus drivers and conductors union, insurance, BCS workers union, bar and restaurants union, anganwadis and mid-day meal workers, construction workers unions, insurance, bank and BSNL employees observed the bandh.
They raised slogans against the Central government for amending the Labour Law and demanded hike in minimum wages. They opposed FDI in banking, insurance and communication sectors.
The strike inconvenienced and angered the residents, who said the public should not be held to ransom.
“The bandh remained peaceful. The trade unions marched from Panchayat Bhawan to bus stand highlighting their demands. They submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and President,” said Vijender Mehra, state CITU president and bandh coordinator.
All colleges and most of schools in the state remained closed, said SFI state president Puneet Dhanta.
“The BJP is politicising education. We are against the anti-student policies of the Centre and the state government,” he said.
The HPSEBL union protested at the office of the electricity board, opposing the anti-labour amendments and the NDA’s corporate-driven anti-working class reforms being carried out at the behest of the capitalists.
The union alleged that the amendments proposed in Industrial Disputes Act aimed at empowering employers. Farmers too observed “Dehat Bandh”. The wholesale fruit and vegetable markets at Dhalli-Bhattakufar, Parala, Rohroo, Narkanda, Parwanoo remained closed.
Dharamsala: Private and HRTC buses remained off road today. The HRTC did not ply buses on inter-state routes. Office-goers had to face a lot of inconvenience. Employees of the Central Water Board also struck work. The transport service is expected to resume by tomorrow.
Mandi: Residents of Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Lahaul-Spiti and Bilaspur bore the brunt of the strike as the HRTC and private buses, taxis and autos did not ply. Services in banks and other government establishments also remained paralysed. Nearly 473 bus routes in Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti were affected and the HRTC has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 35 lakh.
The unions took out a protest rally and raised slogans against the Central government.
Solan: A majority of the industrial units in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh remained closed today. Managements of the industrial units declared a holiday. Though markets in various parts of the district remained opened as beopar mandals did not join the strike, people waiting for buses had a difficult time as only a few public transport vehicles operated.