Bandh paralyses Kolkata

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 07, 2010 20:10 hrs

Just over two months after the July 5 'Bharat Bandh' brought the city to a standstill, the streets of Kolkata emptied out again on Tuesday in the wake of the 24-hour shutdown call given by the central trade unions, including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). But unlike previous lock-downs, the state's IT and ITeS industry was significantly impacted as overall attendance plummeted to around the 30 per cent mark in the technology district of Sector V. Kalyan Kar, vice-president of the Sector V Industries' Forum, said that a large number of IT firms remained closed for the day and BPO companies only operated critical functions.

"Since this bandh was declared for 24-hours, as against 12-hours, the logistical challenge is huge. So many companies have shutdown today and will work next Saturday. This is the worst bandh this year, in terms of impact on the IT sector," Kar said. On an average, Sector V exports software and services worth Rs 26 crore everyday.

Operations at the airport were also badly hit. Jet Airways, the country's largest operator, cancelled at least 60 flights from the city, while Kingfisher Airlines announced that the shutdown had prompted the cancellation of 29 flight of its own. Additionally, there was no public transport available at the airport.

Railways, however, remained unaffected. Eastern Railway chief public relation officer Samir Goswami said, "Services were absolutely normal. There has been no impact." But, similar to the airport, commuters were stranded due to a lack of public transport.

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