A number of industrial units, banks remain closed; many markets stay operational

The two-day “bandh” called by 11 Central trade unions evoked a mixed response on its first day in Delhi on Wednesday. While a number of industrial units, banks and offices remained closed or reported thin attendance, many markets and commercial areas remained operational. Similarly, with a number of transport associations participating in the strike, the number of auto-rickshaws and taxis on the roads was low; but it was made up by the increased presence of about 8,000 public service vehicles, including over 5,000 Delhi Transport Corporation buses.

As part of the action programme, the Delhi State Committee of All India Trade Union Congress and other trade unions blocked the ITO crossing around 10 a.m., resulting in massive traffic congestions in the entire area for a few hours.

This protest action was jointly organised by members of AITUC, AIYF, AISF, NFIW and various trade unions. Among the senior Community Party of India and AITUC leaders who participated in the protest here were Amarjeet Kaur, Dhirendra Sharma and Dinesh Varshney. Another major sit-in demonstration was organised by AITUC at the Delhi Jal Board headquarters.

Meanwhile, a large number of Central Government employees held a lunch hour rally at Shastri Bhavan in support of the strike call. The president of Income Tax Employees Federation (Delhi Circle) A. K. Kanojia said all 4,500 employees of the Income Tax department participated in the strike and none of them turned up for work.

The impact of the protest action was also felt in some industrial areas such as in Narela. Here the bandh supporters blocked traffic on the Narela-Alipur Road. In Mangolpuri Industrial Area too the workers took out a rally towards Peragarhi Chowk, where the traffic was obstructed for some time.

Similar protests were organised at Jhilmil Colony Industrial Area, Bawana, Mandawali, Pandav Nagar, Patparganj, Okhla, Mayapuri, Naraina, Kirti Nagar, Moti Nagar and Wazirpur which have a large number of industrial units. A number of hotel, Defence canteen and airport employees also participated in the protests.

Meanwhile, Delhi Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami said the impact of the strike was limited on the transport sector. Acknowledging that there was no report of any damage to public vehicles, the Minister said no inconvenience was felt by the commuting public as about 8,000 public service vehicles, including 5,117 DTC buses, were put into operations during the day.

The Minister said the Transport Department also ensured the operations of 3,094 other vehicles -- including 1,870 mini buses, 283 Metro feeder buses, 800 contract carriage buses, 101 maxi cabs and 40 other buses – during the day.

Notably, he said, 40 contract carriage buses ferried senior citizens and ladies from Dhaula Kuan free of cost. The Minister claimed that all the 440 cluster buses also plied normally on their 31 allotted routes.

The Minister said though as per the Transport Department a large number of auto-rickshaws and black and yellow taxis stayed off the roads, the presence of the other public vehicles ensured that the inconvenience to the travelling public was minimised.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Jal Board claimed that there was no disruption in water supply due to the strike.

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