A 12-hour bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Left Parties and Samajwadi Party to protest against diesel price hike has affected normal life in West Bengal.
To make it worse the general strike coupled with a taxi strike in the city. The airport services and suburban railway services were disrupted in the early morning and were hardly any takers to avail the services when it started again. Shops, business houses and educational institutions were closed with streets wearing a deserted look, while the only exception was government offices and IT sector, which saw more than 80 per cent attendance.
While accepting that the bandh affected normal life, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, “The issue can be genuine. There was even spontaneous support from people also but we do not support the bandh. There was 90 per cent attendance in government offices. We are planning to introduce a law to tackle bandh. The chief secretary and transport ministry will work into that.”There were reports of clashes between TMC workers and the bandh supporters in some parts of the state.
Meanwhile, Information technology industry was unaffected by the strike. “IT sector in Bengal braved all the odds. All the companies like TCS, Wipro BPO, Cognizant and PricewaterhouseCoopers saw an average attendance of between 80 to 90 per cent,” said Suparno Moitra, NASSCOM Head (East). However, Wipro Technologies did not operate today, giving a compensatory working day on September 22. “Even small companies saw more than 80 per cent attendance in the state’s IT hub,” he added.
Although the bus and minibus unions in the city had on Wednesday announced to postpone the ongoing transport strike following assurances from state government of consideration of a fare hike, at least today very few buses were seen on road.
Also, Bengal Taxi Association and Kolkata Taxi Drivers Association have jointly declared a shut down of services for three days from today demanding a fare hike following recent hike on diesel. Although there were assurances for bus operators for a possible hike, state government has ruled out any hike in taxi fare.