Mamata warns traders of strict action if shops closed

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 21:42 hrs

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday warned of strict action against traders who would not keep their shops open during the two-day strike called by the central trade unions.

Banerjee held a meeting with different trader organisations at the state secretariat ahead of the 48-hour countrywide shutdown called by the trade unions from Wednesday.

"The chief minister appealed to the state's traders and retailers to keep shops open during Wednesday and Thursday. She said strict administration actions will be taken against the traders who will not keep their shops open during the strike," Forum of Traders' general secretary

Rabindranath Koley, who was present at the meet, told IANS.

According to Koley, there are a total of 10 lakh traders in Kolkata while the number is 50 lakhs across the state.

The chief minister, who is opposing the strike, earlier asked government employees to come to office on the days of strike.

CPI-M's labour wing CITU, however, dubbed Banerjee's attempt to foil the shutdown as "illegal".

"No chief minister or state government has the right to take away workers' right to participate in a strike," CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty told reporters.

"The government is trying to take away people's right to protest in a peaceful way. One cannot force people not to participate in a strike. It is anti constitutional and unlawful," said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Surya Kanta Mishra.

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