Overwhelming response to general strike in A.P.

Banking, insurance work affected; strike peaceful in State

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: In Andhra Pradesh, banking and insurance services remained paralysed while there was partial disruption of APSRTC bus services during one-day nationwide strike called by the Left parties on Thursday against the UPA Government's economic policies and the move to dilute labour laws. Train services, however, were normal.

The response to the stir was overwhelming and the strike passed off without any violence except for the arrest of 34 CITU and AITUC workers in Hyderabad and Godavarikhani. Three flights were cancelled at Hyderabad airport while rail and APSRTC services remained by and large normal.

Normal work was thrown out of gear in all banks and clearing operations came to a grinding halt, according to convener of the United Federation of Bank Union S. Ramababu. CPI State secretary K. Narayana at a demonstration at the SBI local head office opposed move to privatise or merge public sector banks. CPI (M) MP P. Madhu, while addressing RBI employees, warned the Centre of more such strikes if its policies were not changed.

Buses operated

All-India Insurance Employees Association general secretary K. Venugopal said more than 15,000 employees of insurance companies stayed away from duties as the strike evoked total response in all the 510 LIC and other insurance offices in the State.

APSRTC Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) Nagaraj Char said 86 per cent of the buses were operated. In all, 400 drivers and conductors abstained from duties. The National Mazdoor Union stayed away from the strike. The arrival and departures of the trains were not affected, a South Central Railway official said.

Airports Authority of India Director R. K. Singla told The Hindu that the Jet Airways cancelled its flights to Hyderabad from Mumbai and Chennai while an Air Sahara flight from Kolkata was also cancelled. Indian Airlines and Air India services were not disrupted, he said.

The strike was also observed in Central Government offices.The strike in Singareni coal mines was a success with miners staying away in some of the projects affecting 40 per cent of the production.

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