Normal life was disrupted in Punjab and Haryana due to a bandh called by several political parties, including NDA, to protest against FDI in multi-brand retail and diesel price hike.
Public transport services were hit with state transport undertakings suspending their long route services to Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh as a precautionary measure.
“We have suspended our inter-state bus services from 8 AM onwards in order to prevent any damage during protests.
However, city bus services are operational,” a senior official of Chandigarh Transport Department said on Thursday.
However, a senior official of Haryana Transport department said, “Transport services in Haryana were absolutely normal so far,” adding, bus services to Punjab have been suspended.
Many private schools in Chandigarh were closed on Thursday in the wake of bandh call. However, shops and commercial establishments in Chandigarh were functional.
Railway services in Punjab were normal, DRM Ferozepur Division, N C Goel said.
Flights to various destinations from here operated on schedule.
However, truckers remained off the road on the call given by All India Motor Transport Congress against diesel rate hike.
“Trucks are not operational today to protest the Rs 5 per litre diesel price hike,” North India Motor Road Transport, President, Charan Singh Lohara said.
The impact of bandh was visible in several places including Amritsar, Jalandhar, Batala, Ludhiana, Mahendergarh and Ambala where majority of trading establishments were closed.
Members of political parties in Punjab and Haryana including BJP, SAD, INLD took out protest rallies and procession at several places including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amristar, Hisar, Jind, Bhiwani, Sirsa and Fatehabad to protest the Centre’s decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel price hike and ceiling on LPG.
Haryana’s main opposition INLD workers joined by their leaders took out processions and held demonstrations demanding rollback of hiked diesel prices, removing cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and rolling back the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
“Trading and commercial establishments including shops will not be opened today in Punjab,” BJP Punjab Media in-charge Vineet Joshi said here.
However, he said BJP will not stop trains in Punjab. “Our intention is not to cause inconvenience to people,” he said.
A report from Phagwara said that the city wore a deserted look because of bandh as business establishments, shops and bazaars, remained shut down. A few educational institutions were also closed.
In Yamunanagar in Haryana, where the bandh was effective, two goods trains were stopped by protesters on Ambala-Saharanpur railway track for about 15 minutes.
In Amritsar and Chandigarh, BJP workers led by party MPs Navjot Singh Sidhu and Anurag Thakur joined the protesters demanding rollback of diesel prices and FDI in retail.
The bazaars in Haryana’s Ambala wore a deserted look.
“The Government will have to take back their decision on FDI as this will ruin us. The hiked diesel price has further added to everyone’s miseries,” Ram Gopal, a small trader based in Ambala, said.