Govt open, rest shut

Wednesday

The first 24 hours Whether the strike was a success or failure on Wednesday depended on whom you listened to.

The first day of the 48-hour nationwide bandh called by 11 trade unions evoked a mixed response in West Bengal despite Trinamool Congress government making all efforts to make the strike a complete non-starter. The state remained peaceful barring a couple of incidents of sporadic violence in some areas.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited several areas —Burrabazar, Rashbehari, Babughat, Hazra crossing, to name a few — to review the functioning of the offices and transport system, claimed that "work culture" has returned to the state with 100 per cent attendance in the government offices. "In terms of work culture we are leading the nation right now," she added.

But the CPM-backed trade union, CITU, claimed that the strike was successful in the state.

Government offices recorded over 90 per cent attendance. A circular was issued yesterday warning the employees against skipping the office. They were warned of pay cut and disciplinary action. The offices of private firms, however, remained closed. At the IT hub in Salt Lake, at least 60 per cent companies remained open, however, with a low turnout. While the government market complexes remained open, private shops and malls remained closed in the city. On the roads, private buses and taxis were seen few in numbers, but many state buses were seen plying. Barring blockades at Hasnabad and Diamond sections of the Eastern Railway, train services were normal in Howrah and Sealdah divisions, sources said. At the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, flight schedule remained normal.

Metro ran all its usual weekday 270 services. There was 87.6 per cent attendance of staff, stated a press statement issued by the Metro Railways.

While CITU claimed that only 17 of the total 179 tea gardens in Terai and Dooars region remained open, Trinamool's trade union, INTTUC, said except 3, the remaining 176 tea gardens functioned normally.

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