Normal life was crippled in the mineral-rich Chhattisgarh as the Bharat Bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and other opposition parties evoked near total response in the state.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made necessary arrangement for the bandh in the state called in protest against the hike in the price of petrol. The party activists were asked to come out on roads to make the event a grand show.
Since morning, the BJP workers started patrolling the streets; asking the petty tea-vendors and shop keepers to bring down the shutters.
The public transport system collapsed as the bandh supporters neither allowed the buses to ply nor the auto-rikshaw for local conveyance.
In the afternoon, BJP activists marched to the railway station and sat on the tracks to stop a passenger train. They later moved away from the spot. “It was just a token protest to stop the train as we did not want people to face problem,” BJP trade wing president Kedar Gupta said.
However, people travelling by bus to the interior areas had to face hardship even as scorching heat added more trouble. ‘
The passengers had to wait in the bus stand and even struggled for a drop of water at the scorching heat of 45 Degree C as all shops remained closed.
The ruling party could garner the support of 16 organisations, including the powerful Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries. The activists of Left parties also moved around the city in support of the bandh.
The transportation of coal and iron-ore—the rich mineral endowed to the state—however remained unaffected.
Though BJP activists blocked trains movement in all parts of the state, it was only a token and the normal rail traffic was restored soon.
The railways chug coal and iron ore from Korba and Bastar respectively in a huge quantity daily to different destinations.