NATIONAL

Strike a total success, claim trade union leaders

A deserted look inside the State Bank of India Parliament Street Branch as a security personnel is on guard in New Delhi on Thursday after the employees observed a general strike.

A deserted look inside the State Bank of India Parliament Street Branch as a security personnel is on guard in New Delhi on Thursday after the employees observed a general strike.  

Normal life affected in West Bengal; shops, schools closed

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Normal life in West Bengal was affected on Thursday in view of the countrywide general strike called by Left-affiliated central trade unions and employees' federations in protest against the Centre's economic and labour policies.

Contributing to "the total success" of the strike in the State as claimed by local trade union leaders was the ruling Left Front's support to it. Various student bodies and peasant organisations were behind the strike call.

"The Left Front's support was both political and moral," Kali Ghose, general secretary of the State's Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) told The Hindu here. "The UPA Government should draw a lesson from the total success of the strike that was a result of the solidarity of the working class and the toiling masses," general secretary of the State committee of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Ranajit Guha, said.

Services disrupted

Vehicles were off the roads, industry ground to a halt in most sectors, and rail and air services were disrupted during the day. Most commercial establishments were closed as were educational institutions. Attendance in most offices of both the Central and State Governments was thin.

HARDSHIP TO THE PUBLIC: A family that arrived by train in Thiruvananthapuram is stranded.

HARDSHIP TO THE PUBLIC: A family that arrived by train in Thiruvananthapuram is stranded.  

Trains stopped

Demonstrators squatted on railway tracks obstructing the movement of trains in both the Sealdah and Howrah divisions at more than 60 different stations spread across the districts. Only two Indian Airlines flights operated from the city airport in the morning and three were scheduled to arrive at the expiration of the 12-hour strike by the Joint Forum of Airport Authority of India Employees protesting against the move to privatise Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Though workers reported for duty at the information technology sector units and at Haldia Petrochemicals Limited, attendance was below normal. So was the turnout of employees at both the Kolkata and Haldia ports. Several tea gardens in north Bengal remained closed. The strike was total in NABARD units, vice-president of the All India NABARD Employees' Association, Rana Mitra, said.

There were no major reports of any untoward incidents and the day passed peacefully, the Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), Raj Kanojia, said.

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