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Bandh Day 2: Violence in Delhi, Noida; Rs 26,000 cr lost

Last updated on: February 21, 2013 19:18 IST

Bandh Day 2: Violence in Delhi, Noida; Rs 26,000 cr lost

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Violence broke out in an industrial area in South Delhi on Thursday and factories attacked in capital's suburb Noida for the second day in the nationwide strike called by trade unions which badly hit banking services amid a mixed response in states.

Industry and trade bodies -- CII and ASSOCHAM -- said the estimated economic loss to India in the two-day strike from Wednesday will be up to Rs 26,000 crore which the country can ill afford at a time when the economy is under the grip of a major slowdown.

Public transport was also disrupted in several states while some ATMs of PSU banks in metro cities ran out of cash. Clearing operations and cash transactions also came to a grinding halt.

Air and rail services remained unaffected, according to reports. Life remained normal in West Bengal but it was paralysed in Kerala for the second day.

We take a look how the second day of the strike has impacted cities across the country:

Delhi, Noida:

The strike in the national capital took a violent turn when a group of protesters pelted stones at over a dozen factories and offices in Okhla Industrial Area in South Delhi. Six trouble-makers were detained, police said.

In Noida, around 200 workers pelted stones at a factory in Sector 5 breaking windows and damaged vehicles even as authorities imposed prohibitory order in the district of Uttar Pradesh.

Five persons have been arrested in Thursday's incident, Senior Superintendent of Police Shalabh Mathur said.

Around 100 workers had also assembled in Sector 10 industrial area and started pelting stones but police reached the spot and prevented damage to factories, he said.

"Barring these two minor incidents, no clash was reported from other places in the city," the SSP said.

In Wednesday's violence, 150 cases have been registered at Noida Phase 2 police station by industrialists against trade union leaders and rioters, Mathur said.

Noida Entrepreneur Association president Vipin Malhan has estimated loss of Rs 600 crore in yesterday's violence as it included loss of production and damage to property.

Earlier, commuters in New Delhi continued to face hardships for the second consecutive day today as majority of auto-rickshaws and taxis stayed off the road in support of the two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions.

Students and office goers were the hardest hit as auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers either refused to go or overcharged..

Various industrial units and banks either remained closed or witnessed thin attendance while markets and commercial areas remained open.

Long queues were seen at metro stations. DTC services were near normal though a section of the employees extended support to the strike.

The DTC deployed over 5,000 buses to ferry passengers. Another 3,000 private buses including 1,870 mini buses, 283 metro feeder buses and around 800 contract carriage buses were also pressed into service.

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Kerala:

Normal life in Kerala was paralysed with workers from most sectors ranging from transport to banking keeping away from work. Reports from across the state said buses and taxis were off the roads and markets remained shut. Train and air services were not affected.

Attendance in government offices was thin and educational institutions remained closed as pro-Left service and teachers unions joined the strike. Universities have cancelled examinations scheduled for the last two days. Barring stray incidents of minor violence, the state had remained peaceful since Wednesday.

Police in their vehicles facilitated the short-distance travels of train and air passengers, who arrived in the state unaware of the hartal atmosphere.

Emergency services like healthcare, milk supply and media have been exempted from the strike.

Assam:

The second day of the nationwide trade union strike evoked luke warm response in Assam today.          Public transport, including buses, shared trekker taxi service, auto-rickshaw and cycle-rickshaws were operating normally in state capital Guwahati, official sources said.         

Markets and shops were open in most parts of the state, they said. Trains and flight operations also operated as per schedule as well. Public sector banks and insurance companies, however, remained closed for the second day today as their employees joined the strike, they said, adding the private sector banks did also business as usual.  

Odisha:

Normal life was partially affected in several parts of Odisha today on the last day of the two-day nation-wide strike called by central trade unions.

People faced difficulties in commuting as buses, taxis auto-rickshaws remained off the roads, leaving a large number of passengers, including women and children, stranded at different places.

In state capital Bhubaneswar, some three-wheelers were seen plying in many areas since this morning, giving respite to the commuters who had a tough time travelling on Wednesday.

Shops, markets, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed, while eating joints and kiosks were found open today. Small traders and retailers also resumed their business operations, official sources said. Banks remained closed with employees picketing and demonstrating at different places, while most educational institutions, including schools, were open.

Train services were disrupted by protesters blocking tracks at many places including Bhubaneswar, besides at Cuttack, Balasore, Khurda Road, Berhampur and Sambalpur, railway sources said.

A report from the port town of Paradip said that loading, unloading and other operations in the port were normal since Thursday morning. The strike was peaceful so far with police deployed at important places in an effort to prevent any untoward incident.

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Image: A largely deserted bus depot in Guwahati during the second day of strike called by central unions


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Punjab, Haryana

Public transport and banking services continued to be affected in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh on the second day of the strike called by central trade unions in support of their various demands, including steps to check price rise and enforcement of labour laws.

Majority of state owned buses plying on inter-state routes and inter-city routes in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh did not ply in the wake of strike causing inconvenience to commuters, reports from various places said.

"We are not seeing arrival of buses from Punjab and Haryana operating on inter-state routes on the second consecutive day. The buses of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking also did not ply to other states," a senior official of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking said on Thursday.

However, he said efforts are being made to run buses within the UT Chandigarh city to minimise commuter's woes.

With public transport remaining disrupted, commuters including office goers and school children, faced difficulties in reaching their destinations. However, private bus and taxi operators continued to "exploit" hapless commuters by charging heavily from them.

With bank employees of public sector banks and old private banks observing strike, banking transactions were hit, causing inconvenience to bank customers.

Though bank officials claimed that enough cash was put in ATMs to enable customers to withdraw money for their requirements during two-day stir, protesting bank employees claimed that cash dispensing machines have started drying up at some places.

Because of banking operations remaining suspended, industry representatives claimed that the two-day strike had adversely affected the industrial activity.

Due to the strike, cheques worth several crore of rupees remained uncleared in all the public sector banks and forex transactions could not be carried out, said a bank employee.

Meanwhile, industrial production in Punjab and Haryana remained unaffected as industrial workers joined their duties, they said. A report from Hisar has said activists of different trade unions staged dharnas in front of their respective offices and criticised state and central government for their "indifferent" attitude towards their long standing demands.

West Bengal:

Life remained normal on Thursday in West Bengal on the second day of nationwide strike, though banking services continued to be affected with majority of ATMs dried up of cash.

TV reports also stated that a Panchayat employee's ear was chopped off by alleged Trinamool workers for not turning up on day 2 of the Bharat bandh in Murshidabad. While the victim was admitted to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition, no formal complaint has been lodged yet. 

Customers were highly inconvenienced as banks, both nationalised and private, were closed in the state with many ATMs remaining non-functional as well.

Transport services, which were exempted from the strike in the state today, remained normal and office-goers and other people went about their work as usual.

Shops, markets and business establishments were open and private and government transport services functioned as usual in different parts of the state.

No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state so far, police sources said.

"The situation is absolutely peaceful," state police sources said adding.       

Most schools and colleges too were open and classes were held normally.

Life was partially affected in the state on the first day of the strike on Wednesday as several private transport services had suspended their operations and markets too were closed in some parts of the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to ban political parties calling shutdowns, while noting that people of Bengal have rejected the two-day strike called by central trade unions.

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Image: Commuters carry their luggage outside a railway station during a strike in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters

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Bandh Day 2: Violence in Delhi, Noida; Rs 26,000 cr lost

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Mumbai:

Majority of ATMs have dried up in the financial capital of Mumbai and banking operations across the city were hit on the second day of the general strike called by central trade unions for various demands.

"A majority of ATMs have dried up while the (bank) branches are shut. Additionally, there has not been any cheque clearing as personnel from RBI too joined the strike. It will take at least 2-3 working days to clear the backlog for banks", said All India Bank Employees Association Vice President Vishwas Utagi.

The strike witnessed near cent per cent participation by employees from banking and insurance sector in the financial hub, leaving their operations completely paralysed.

"We reiterate our demands, including the one for not allowing private sector participants into the fray for which we are holding the bandh", Utagi said.

Suburban railway, the city's life line, functioned normally and road traffic remained unaffected, though there were fewer passengers using public transport. Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were also normal despite a section of airport unions declaring their support to the strike, an airport spokesperson said.

Karnataka:

The two-day nationwide strike had no major impact in most parts of Karnataka on Thursday. Though banking services were hit, many buses, taxis and autos plied and shops and hotels remained opened here. However, schools and colleges were closed.

No violence was reported from any part of the state, police said.

Services at many hospitals in the city were not hit, as also in IT companies. Several PSUs including HAL, BHEL and BEL, besides a host of other industrial units in Bangalore were functioning normally. There was improvement in attendance in government offices, police said.

There has been no impact on normal life due to the strike in Belgaum district, sources said.

Visvesvaraya Technological University postponed MTech, MCA and MBA examinations scheduled for Thursday.

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Image: A deserted bank seen in Mumbai during the strike
Photographs: Sahil Salve
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Andhra Pradesh:

Employees of banks and public sector organisations in Andhra Pradesh continued their protests on the second day of the two-day strike. The personnel of various organisations, who stayed away from work on Wednesday, began their protests in Hyderabad and other places in Andhra Pradesh.

The employees of various PSU banks and workers in the unorganised sector took out protest rallies in Hyderabad and other parts of the state. Services in banking and other PSU organisations were badly affected on the first day of the 48-hour general strike on Wednesday.

All India Trade Union Congress state unit president and MLC P J Chandrasekhar Rao had claimed that the strike was being held in an unprecedented manner with staff of the state-run miner Singareni Collieries, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation joining the stir.

He claimed that 75 per cent of RTC buses, the principal mode of public transport in AP, remained off the roads on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu:

In Tamil Nadu, banking and postal services remained affected while shops remained open and transport services plied normally.

Members of the protesting trade unions staged demonstrations in various parts of Chennai.


Image: Trade union workers marching in a rally during the two-day strike in Hyderabad
Photographs: SnapsIndia
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