Stating that the national strike called by the Opposition against fuel price hike has cost the economy around Rs 10,000 crore, the industry on Monday said the protest is “odd and absurd.”

“It (bandh) is not justified at all. Political parties interfering and disturbing day-to-day work is not at all appropriate. The protest is quite odd and absurd. They will only lose their political ground,” Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej told PTI.

According to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the strike eroded the national GDP “by a production loss of nearly a full day which in monetary terms can be roughly estimated at Rs 10,000 crore.” The calculation is based on assumption that the GDP would stay around Rs 50 lakh crore with a growth rate of over 8 per cent in current fiscal, Assocham added.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the other hand estimated the total loss to the economy on account of the national strike “would be greater than Rs 3,000 crore.”

The entire Opposition has called a national strike on Monday against the recent Rs 2 per litre hike in diesel prices and decontrolling of petrol prices that led to an increase in price by Rs 3.5 a litre.

While stating that the increase in prices of petroleum products will naturally put some additional burden on the common man, Bajaj Auto chairman and Rajya Sabha member Rahul Bajaj said, “I believe the government had no choice but to take this step, which was long overdue. Otherwise, oil companies would have been in serious difficulty.”

He, however, said bandhs are against national interest and also cause serious inconvenience to the common man.

“I can understand some protests by the Opposition parties to this step. However, I am against bandhs,” he added.

Supporting the government decision, CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said the chamber “has been a strong advocate of market-linked pricing and taxation of petroleum products and hopes to see the reforms in this direction completed in the course of the year.”

While the leading chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) did not comment on the national strike, Progress, Harmony and Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) said transportation was severely hit in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.


NDA leaders court arrest during Bandh July 5, 2010

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