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Bharat bandh: Banking, train, bus ops hit in WB, Kerala; top developments

The strike call covers banks, post offices, BSNL, state transport, railways, port trust, defence and other PSUs, trade unions, others. Here are the top updates

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Bharat Bandh
Guwahati: Left Democratic Party block trains during the 48-hour-long nationwide general strike called by central trade unions protesting against the "anti-people" policies of the Centre, in Guwahati, Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Bharat Bandh called by 10 central trade unions has entered its second day today. On Tuesday, the strike evoked a mixed response as five states, including Kerala, Odisha and Assam, witnessed complete bandh, while sporadic incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal and Rajasthan. The bandh partly affected public life in most states and Union Territories. Trains were stopped in Kerala, while buses and autorickshaws were off the road, hitting normal life, according to reports. Workersfrom various sectors have extended support to the two-day strike.

The call covers banks, insurance, post offices, BSNL, state transport, railways, port trust, defence and other PSUs, central-state government undertakings, municipal workers, anganwadi staffers, hawkers and others comprising 250 million people. Cheques worth about Rs 20,000 crore could not be cleared by the clearing houses all over the country yesterday, AIBEA General Secretary C H Vekatchalam claimed.

Here are top 10 developments on Bharat Bandh:

1. Banking services partially affected as a section of PSU bank employees came in support of the nation-wide

All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees' Federation of India (BEFI) have supported the strike. A treasury branch of the State Bank of India here was attacked and trains were blocked in various parts of Kerala. The branch manager said a group of people came to his cabin at around 10 am and threatened the staff, damaged a glass table top and a computer. At the Thiruvananthapuram railway station, Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad Sabari Express and Venad Express were blocked, while the Kottayam-Nilambur passenger train in Kalamassery was held up for a while. 2. Trains stopped by protesters in TN, banking services hit Chennai and Hyderabad : Trains were stopped by protesters at a few places in Tamil Nadu and banking services in some public sector banks interrupted in Telangana but life largely remained unaffected Wednesday during the second day of the two-day nationwide stir called by 10 central trade unions, reported PTI.

In Chennai, protests were held at Mount Road and Perambur and Guindy railway stations.

Similar protests were held in front of Madurai railway station and near the old bus-stand in Thanjavur district and Tiruchirappalli station affecting movement of vehicles and rail traffic. Police said no incidents of violence were reported.

Offices, commercial establishments and educational institutions functioned normally.

3. Buses, tourist taxis go off roads in Goa Panaji: Normal life was affected in Goa as private buses and tourist taxis remained off roads.

To mitigate the woes of passengers, the state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation was operating 800 additional bus services, a senior official of the corporation said.

Some people living on islands in the coastal state also faced problems as ferry boat services run by the government's river navigation department remained shut.

4. Protest in West Bengal: Protestors in West Bengal vandalised a government bus in Dinhata, Cooch Behar

Two people, including the bus driver has been injured.

Police officials inspect the spot.

Left leader detained in Kolkata: CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty along with other protestors was detained by police while participating in the two-day nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions demanding minimum wages and social security schemes among others.

5. Bandh by BEST employees: Strike by Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport(BEST) bus employees over their demands, including the fixation at master grade for those employed after 2007, merging BEST budget with ‘A’ budget of BMC and resolving the issue of employee service residences, continues today.

6. Striking employees to face consequences, warns govt: The Centre has warned its agitating employees of disciplinary action if they remain on strike and don't join work, according to an order issued by the Personnel Ministry. "Any employee going on strike in any form would face the consequences which, besides deduction of wages, may also include appropriate disciplinary action," the order said.

7. Odisha government directs Collectors to decide on closure of educational institutes: In wake of Bharat call on Wednesday, Odisha Government had directed the District Collectors and District Magistrates to assess the situation in their respective district and decide accordingly for the closure of the educational institutions. In a letter written to district officials, Additional Secretary, Partha Sarthi Mishra ordered for necessary caution.

8. Trade unions' Bharat call derails trains: Bharat call given by trade unions involving nearly 20 crore workers threw life out of gear on Tuesday in various parts of the country, leaving bus and rail services in total disarray. Nearly half a dozen trains were cancelled, and 20 other trains were controlled en route, affecting the normal movement of various trains on different routes adversely. The impact of was largely felt in West Bengal, Odisha, and Karnataka.

9. Bandh in Assam, other NE states: The passing of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha was marked by a "bandh", which brought life to a standstill in Assam and had its spillover effect in the other north-eastern states. The protesters brought life to a standstill and vented their ire at the ruling BJP by gheraoing the houses of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Power Minister Tapan Kumar Gogoi and attempting to attack the saffron party's offices in different parts of Assam during the 11-hour "bandh" called by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU).

10. Autos off roads in Kerala, trains blocked: Trains were stopped in Thiruvananthapuram, Tripunithura, Shoranur railway stations. Venad Express, which runs from the state capital to Shoranur Junction daily, was delayed by more than one hour as agitators squatted on tracks, blocking its route, and raised slogans. Other trains that were stopped here were Jan Shatabdi and Raptisagar Express. Auto-rickshaws kept off roads.

11. Exemptions to the strike: Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from the strike.

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 10:25 IST