Banking, insurance operations affected
Stone throwing, bodily attacks, damage to properties and vehicles in Noida and Delhi’s Okhla Industrial Estate and chopping off of the ear of a panchayat executive officer in West Bengal, allegedly by Trinamool workers for not reporting to work on Wednesday, marred the second day of the nationwide general strike.
There was mixed response to the strike call, which caused further hardship to the common man.
The protest, called by 11 central trade unions hit banking operations, the insurance sector, oil and petroleum industries, Central/State government undertakings, transport (including buses, taxis and autos), functioning of industries and working of government offices in some States.
ATMs went dry in many cities and rural areas. However, some private banks functioned. As many as 8 lakh cheques could not be cleared with Reserve Bank of India staff joining the strike. In Delhi, people continued to suffer as majority of autorickshaws and taxis stayed off the road. Long queues were seen at metro stations. DTC services were near-normal though a section of the employees extended support to the strike.
Air and train services remained normal but commuters had difficulty in reaching or coming from airports/railway stations due to non-availability of public transport. Shops and markets remained open in many places. Schools, colleges were closed and examinations postponed in some States.
The strike was called demanding urgent steps to control price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws in all places of work, social security for workers in the unorganised sector, end to disinvestment in PSUs and raising the minimum wages to Rs. 10,000 a month.