Bandh evokes mixed response

                         “Barat bandh”

JAIPUR/LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: The nationwide strike called by trade unions today evoked a lukewarm response in Lucknow as life was normal during morning hours.

Usual traffic was seen on the main thoroughfares of the state capital and shops and business establishments opened at their usual time. Most of the schools, colleges and other educational institutions as well as offices reported normal attendance.

Reports from districts were awaited. Members of 10 central trade unions went on a one-day nationwide strike on Wednesday against the ‘anti-labour’ policies of the government.

The strike call given by 10 central trade unions saw a mixed response in Rajasthan during morning hours. Banking and roadways services were partially affected as members of trade unions joined the strike.

A demonstration was held in front of the LIC Building in Jaipur. Members of the banking sector and LIC participated in the demonstration, Mahesh Mishra, a representative of bank employees union, said. Rajasthan roadways employees affiliated with CITU also participated in the “Barat bandh”.

“Of the total employees, there are nearly 3,000 employees affiliated with CITU in roadways who are participating in the Barat bandh. The strike’s impact is on buses’ operations in Churu, Ganganagar, Sikar,’ Kishan Singh Rathore, general secretary of Rajasthan roadways workers” union (CITU), claimed.

However in Jaipur, most of the markets opened as usual and there was not much impact on public transport services.
Several outfits of public sector banks, roadways, post office and farmers in Punjab and Haryana joined the strike call to protest against the government’s “anti-people” policies.

Employees of public sector banks joined the strike, impacting banking services in the region. Representatives of trade unions and roadways unions held protests at several places, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda in Punjab and raised slogans against the government in support of their demands.

There were reports that some factory workers were stopped from going to work by representatives of trade unions in Jalandhar. Public transport services at a few places, including Ludhiana in Punjab, were affected. In Haryana, though a faction of Haryana Roadways had announced to join the strike, public transport services were not affected much, barring a few places including Sirsa.

Heavy police force was deployed at several bus depots in Haryana and Punjab to ensure smooth movement of buses, officials said. In Patiala, a student body held protest outside the Punjabi University against the Centre. Ten central trade unions like INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC along with various independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last year to go on a nationwide strike on 8 January. Some farmers’ bodies had also announced to stop supplies of milk and vegetables.

Rahul slams Modi govt policies

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today came out in support of the strike by central trade unions and slammed the Modi government, saying its “anti-people and anti-labour” policies have created catastrophic unemployment in the country.

He alleged that this weakening of PSUs is being done to justify their sale to PM Narendra Modi’s crony capitalists friends.
Extending support to the Barat bandh call given by over 25 crore workers, he said, “I salute them”.

“The Modi-Shah Government’s anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment and are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi’s crony capitalist friends,” he said in a tweet.

“Today, over 25 crore workers have called for Bharat Bandh 2020 in protest. I salute them,” he said on Twitter.