KOLKATA: Normal life was affected for the second consecutive day in West Bengal, where the Trinamool called a bandh on Friday in protest against the rise in petrol, diesel and LPG prices. (It curtailed the 12-hour bandh by an hour and half.)
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Socialist Unity Centre of India also called a 12-hour general strike.
On Thursday, the Left Front gave the call for a 12-hour general strike on the same issue.
Road transport was disrupted, though, unlike on Thursday, a few state-owned and private buses were seen on the streets here. Metro services were normal. Most commercial establishments, offices, and educational institutions remained closed.
Several trains were cancelled and many others detained at various places across the State as bandh supporters staged demonstrations on the rail track. Air services to and from Kolkata were, however, not affected.
More than 250 people were arrested for putting up roadblocks and for squatting on the track, a senior police official said. There was no report of any major incident.
The bandh call had little impact in the industrial sector, said Shyamal Chakravarty, president of the State unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. A big majority of jute mills and manufacturing units were open and work was normal in tea gardens, he said.
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, who led a procession, demanded a rollback of the price hike, and withdrawal of sales tax on petroleum products by the State government.
The bandh, which she claimed received the “spontaneous support of the people,” was a “warning” to both the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and the Left Front government in the State to desist from pursuing “anti-people” policies.
The movement against their “anti-people” policies would continue; the CPI(M) was a party to the decision to raise fuel prices, she said.
The frequency and the extent of the rise during the UPA rule were much higher than what happened when the National Democratic Alliance (of which the Trinamool was a constituent) was in power, Ms. Banerjee said.