Offices, banks and colleges functioned as usual
The “Karwar bandh” call given by various organisations under the banner of Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT) Employees' Union evoked a partial response on Thursday. Autorickshaw drivers and owners' unions, merchants' union and Karwar Chamber of Commerce and other organisations supported the call. Shops and business establishments remained closed in the town, but life was not affected.
Government offices, banks, schools and colleges functioned as usual. Employees of Solaris Chemtech Limited (formerly known as BILT), who have been on strike for the past 90 days seeking an increase in their salary, took out a procession and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.
In the morning, members of the BILT union and other organisations were seen persuading shopkeepers to support the bandh call. When they tried to close some business establishments forcibly in the Gandhi market area, shopkeepers resisted. An argument broke out between shopkeepers and bandh supporters.
The police intervened and brought the situation under control.
Shopkeepers sought protection and a large number of policemen were posted in the area.
After some time, the protesters tried to enter the area and close shops. But the police prevented them from entering the area. Some autorickshaw unions and fishermen's unions too opposed the bandh. Barring these incidents, the bandh was peaceful.
The leaders, who addressed the employees, alleged that the management of the factory was exploiting the workers. The management had raised a loan of Rs. 250 crore by mortgaging the assets of the factory and the money was diverted to Gujarat to set up a new factory. They alleged that the management refused to hike the salary of workers though the factory was making profits. The management staff were given bonus a few days ago, but it was not given to workers. The leaders urged the Government to help resolve the problems of the agitating workers.
Kishor Desai, Satish Sail, Nagaraj Naik, and Shambhu Shetty spoke.