Foil strike, I will guard you, says Mamata
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While the Centre has taken to the path of negotiations to prevent the general strike called by trade unions on February 20-21, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken the bandh call "seriously" and exhorted people to foil it.
"I will guard you. You must foil this strike as it will lead to your ruin. I will compensate those who suffer damage at the hands of the people indulging in the strike. I am not taking this bandh casually but I am taking it seriously. I will see to it that Bengal remains normal on those two days," Mamata said at a rally at Diamond Harbour.
The rally was organised to mark the foundation-laying of eastern India's first women's university in Diamond Harbour. Along with announcing a series of developmental programmes, she also announced the setting up of a Rs 1,332 crore project to provide potable drinking water for the district.
Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra today issued a circular, similar to the one issued on the eve of the CPM-sponsored bandh on September 20 last year, which clearly specified that all government employees would have to report for duty on the two days and no leave would be granted. It also mentioned that any attempt of forcible stopping of work on the two days would be dealt with severely.
In West Bengal, while the central trade unions have called for a strike on February 20, it has called only an industrial strike on February 21 because of Bhasha Divas that is celebrated all over the state.
Writers' Buildings, the state government secretariat, today witnessed vigorous campaigning both in favour of and against the bandh by the Coordination Committee of State Government Employees affiliated to the CPM and United State Government Employees' Federation affiliated with Trinamool Congress.