A two-day Bharat Bandh called by a joint forum of central trade unions against the government's alleged wrong policies began on March 28, disrupting banking services and public transport in some parts of the country.
As many as 10 central trade unions (CTUs) have joined hands to protest the government’s “anti-farmer, anti-workers and anti-people policies”. About 20 crore workers are said to take part in the shutdown called by trade unions such as INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, and SEWA.
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Public transport, banking services affected on first day of general strike in Assam
Public transport was off the road, while services in the banking and other financial institutions were affected in Assam on Monday, the first day of the nationwide strike called by central trade unions against various "wrong" policies of the government. Protesters belonging to several trade unions were picked up when they tried to start a march in support of the two-day strike from the Guwahati Club point. They were later released, police said. City and long-distance buses, cab services, auto-rickshaws and other commercial vehicles decided not to ply on the first day of the general strike leaving the commuters in the lurch. Banks, insurance companies and all other public sector institutional financial establishments remained closed as the employees did not report for their duties.
No major impact of strike on banking services in Rajasthan
Banking services were not affected majorly in Rajasthan due to the nation-wide strike called by central trade unions to protest against the policies of the Union government, according to a union official. Only three out of nine bank unions have given a call for the strike so banking services were not majorly impacted, state convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions, Mahesh Mishra, said. Employees and officers of public sector banks went on strike on Monday to protest against the central government's move of privatisation and press for restoration of the old pension scheme. Bank employees held a demonstration at Khasa Kothi circle and raised slogans on the call of All India Bank Employees Association, All India Bank Officers Association and Bank Employees Federation of India that had called the strike. "Only three out of nine bank unions had called the strike so banking services were not majorly affected. Banks remained open in the state. The unions have been protesting against privatisation of banks and also demanded restoration of the old pension scheme," Mishra said. He said that services like cash deposits, withdrawal, cheque clearance etc remained normal as not all employees were on strike.
Banking services affected in Jharkhand on day 1
Banking services at public sector banks were affected in Jharkhand on Monday as a major section of employees did not report for duty on the first day of the nation-wide strike called by a joint forum of central trade unions to protest against various "wrong" policies of the government. The two-day strike was also supported by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). However, there was hardly any impact on the services of private sectors banks in the state. Jharkhand chapter of the Bank of India Employees Union (BoIEU) claimed that more than 2,000 branches of various public sector banks remained shut across the state. Bank employees were seen on dharna outside the gates of their bank branches.
Nationwide strike has limited impact in Maharashtra
The nationwide strike had a limited impact in the financial capital on Monday, with most of the services functioning normally. Employees from Maharashtra's power sector utilities joined the strike despite the threat of action against them but they had extensive negotiations with the state's power minister Nitin Raut. Besides, employees from state-owned banks and insurers, and old private sector lenders held a meeting at the Azad Maidan, the city's official protesting ground. In a statement, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation claimed 5,000 employees attended the protest. Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary of Maharashtra State Banking Employees Federation, said the workers will assemble for a protest at Horniman Circle in South Mumbai on Tuesday morning and try forming a human chain. Ahead of the strike, the city-headquartered SBI, also the country's largest lender, had warned customers of some inconveniences.
The call for a nationwide strike by central trade unions to protest against the Centre's wrong policies affecting farmers, workers and common people, did not affect normal life in Karnataka on Monday. It was business as usual for transport services, government offices and educational institutions. However, industrial belts in Bengaluru and some other parts of the state saw demonstrations by workers. According to Prakash K of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the protests and demonstrations took place in a "decentralised" manner in the state. He claimed that banking and insurance services were hit. In Bengaluru, demonstrations took place in Peenya Industrial Area, Bommanahalli, Bommasandra, KR Puram, Yelahanka, Bidadi, Kengeri and Anekal, Prakash told PTI. Similarly, there were protests in taluk headquarters in many parts of the state, the trade union leader claimed. He said there will be a "centralised" demonstration at Freedom Park here on Tuesday by the 10 trade unions, including CITU, AITUC and INTUC. However, the Bharat Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) did not participate in the two-day strike, Prakash said.
Strike hits bus transport, banking operations in Tamil Nadu
Buses run by state run transport corporations remained off the roads in most parts of Tamil Nadu hitting normalcy on Monday, the first day of the two-day nationwide strike by central trade unions. In view of unavailability of buses, people were put to inconvenience and students in several places could be seen hitchhiking to schools and colleges and tourists in hill stations like Ooty had a tough time in finding other modes of transport services. Private buses, autorickshaws and 'share' autorickshaws were crammed in several regions including Pudukottai and Dindigul and several complained of a steep increase in fares. Operations in public sector banks were affected barring the State Bank of India and the Indian Overseas Bank, according to an All India Bank Officers' Association office-bearer. Also, a section of workers of a couple of scheduled private banks also took part in the strike, he told PTI.
Nationwide strike fails to evoke much response in Tripura
The two-day nationwide strike called by major trade unions to protest against the central government's alleged wrong policies failed to evoke much response in the BJP-ruled Tripura on Monday, the first day of the stir, officials said. Attendance in government offices and educational institutions was normal. Private schools, however, remained shut citing the safety of the students in the wake of the strike. Vehicles were seen plying on roads while train services and flight operations were normal. Banks, financial institutions, markets and business establishments remained open in Agartala, the state capital. Life was normal across the state today despite the strike. There was no detention or campaign in favour of the bandh in the state capital or elsewhere, a senior police officer said. Earlier, the Tripura government had said its offices will remain open on Monday and Tuesday. The state authorities also mandated the employees to report for duty on these two days. Any exception to the government order will be viewed seriously, a government notification issued on Saturday night read.
Coal workers join nation-wide strike; production of dry-fuel to be hit
A large section of coal workers across India has joined the nation-wide two-day strike which is likely to affect the production and despatches of the dry fuel, HMS-affiliated Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation said on Monday. Central trade unions have given a call for a two-day strike from Monday to protest against the policies of the Union government. Coal workers who have joined the nation-wide strike have responded well and their active participation shows their dissatisfaction against the policy of the Centre aiming to destroy the existence of state-owned CIL and coal industry as whole, Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation said. Read more here
Kerala HC directs the state govt to issue an order restricting its employees from participating in strike
Kerala High Court on March 28 directed the State Government to issue an order restricting the state government employees from participating in the two-day nationwide strike/Bharat Bandh. The court also observed that it is illegal that state government employees are participating in the strike.
Transport sector impacted in Tamil Nadu
The two-day national strike called for by various unions had its impact on the public transport sector in Tamil Nadu on Monday as a large number of buses operated by State Transport Undertakings (STU) remained off the road, affecting morning office-goers and others in many places. As a result, autorickshaws were charging exorbitant fares, commuters in different cities complained. While many had the option of switching to suburban rail services and the Metro Rail here, same was not the case in other cities of the state and people had to rely on the available thin services of government buses and autorickshaws. The few running buses were packed beyond capacity. According to reports, a large number of buses operated by the STU stayed off the roads, giving a tough time for the morning officer-goers.
Private buses ply in Puducherry; banking services partially affected
Privately operated buses plied normally on Monday in Puducherry even as banking services were partially affected due to the two-day national strike called for by various trade unions to against the alleged anti-people, anti-worker and anti-farmers policies of the Central government. Schools and government offices functioned as usual while branches of some of banks did not function as workers abstained from work impacting services. Police personnel were deployed in strength at all vantage points. Privately operated buses and also those operated by Puducherry government-owned Road Transport corporation were plying as usual. Industrial establishments remained closed in most of the estates, according to sources. Members of various unions held demonstrations at various places condemning the Centre's policies.
Production at RINL plant affected as 8,000 workers join nationwide strike
Around 8,000 workers of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) did not report for work on Monday, affecting production at the company's 7.5 million tonnes-steel plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. There are around 11,000 non-executive workers at the plant and out of them, about 75 per cent did not come for work as part of the ongoing nationwide strike, according to a company official. As many as 10 central trade unions on Monday began a two-day nationwide strike to protest against the government's alleged wrong policies that are affecting farmers, workers and the general public. The strike notices have been given by the unions in various sectors, including coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, banks, and insurance.
Left and DMK MPs protest at Gandhi statue
Sarbat Singh Punia, a leader of the joint front of 10 unions, said that "in all the depots bus services are suspended". Only a few buses which are run under the kilometre scheme were operated in the morning in Narnaul, Jhajjar and Chandigarh depots by private operators. Our roadways employees are observing a complete strike."
He alleged that the BJP-led state government was not strengthening the Haryana Roadways fleet. "This indicates their intent to promote privatisation of the transport services. There were 4,200 buses in the Haryana Roadways fleet about six years back, which have been reduced to 2,600 now and route permits are given to promote private buses. Haryana Roadways needs 10,000 buses in its fleet but the government is not paying heed," he said.
In some districts, Section 144 of the CrPC that prohibits gathering of more than five people has been imposed within 100 metres of the bus stands to maintain law and order, officials said.
Visuals from Delhi | All India Bank Employees Association have called for an all-India bank strike
Delhi | All India Bank Employees Association have called for an all-India bank strike today & tomorrow, to protest against the government's plan to privatise public sector banks pic.twitter.com/ovLNAq9UYI
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2022
Left Front members block tracks at Jadavpur station in Kolkata
West Bengal | Members from the Left Front gather in huge numbers & block railway tracks at Jadavpur Railway Station in Kolkata, in view of the 2-day nationwide strike called by different trade unions. pic.twitter.com/WnWUTJHKNo
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2022
Normal life hit in parts of Bengal
The strike disrupted normal life at some places in West Bengal. Transport services were affected in some districts as protesters blocked roads and halted train movement at some stations on the Howrah and Sealdah sections.
Railways officials, however, said there were no major disruptions so far. Operations at offices, educational institutions and commercial establishments were unaffected in most parts of the state, even as the trade unions backed by the Left Front exuded confidence that the strike would be a success.
Protests in Thiruvananthapuram to protest against government policies
Kerala | To protest against government policies, different trade unions have called for a nationwide strike/bandh today & tomorrow, March 28 & 29. Only emergency services are excluded from the strike.
Visuals from Thiruvananthapuram pic.twitter.com/wC3AbQ8Ied
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2022
Kerala shutters down
In Kerala, where trade unions are strong, all institutions downed their shutters on March 28. State-run KSRTC buses did not operate, while taxis, auto-rickshaws and private buses kept away from the roads. Commercial vehicles, including trucks, were also not plying in an expression of solidarity with the striking workers.
Essential services including milk, newspapers, hospitals and ambulances were not affected. According to media reports, some protesters tried to prevent employees of private firms from reaching their offices. The police have arranged for transport for those who have reached the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station to travel to the Regional Cancer Centre.
The Maharashtra government has invoked the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) barring employees of state-run electricity companies from joining the protest.
Talking to PTI, All Indian Trade Union Congress General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur said, "We are expecting participation of over 20 crore formal and informal workers with mass mobilisation of workers across the country during the strike on March 28 and 29 to protest against government policies." Read more here