Trade bandh: Expect fewer buses

Trains, taxis and autos will ply as usual in Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday, when trade unions have called an all-India bandh. Some buses are likely to stay away from roads.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha said BMC, BEST and Thane Municipal Corporation employees would work as usual. Unions affiliated to it plan to ensure autos, taxis, hawkers and private hospitals do not go on strike.

"We welcome the PM move to appoint a committee of senior ministers to discuss with the leadership of 11 central trade unions all demands," Sharad Rao, Sabha president, said. He said the union had decided to observe only an industrial bandh.

PM has asked cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge to talk to the unions protesting "anti-people" government policies.

Despite Rao's union not supporting the strike, fewer BEST buses may be out on Wednesday. This is because a second BEST union controlled by Shiv Sena is backing the bandh.

"We have given full support to the bandh. However, we have decided BEST buses should not strike once school and college exams begin from Thursday," Suhas Samant, a BEST union leader and Sena committee member, said.

A BEST spokesperson said they would ensure every bus that is out on Wednesday and Thursday has its windows protected by netting. "We will deploy extra buses. The general manager has said any educational institution requiring BEST services during the bandh can approach the nearest depot," he said.

Central and Western Railway employee unions have said even though they were extending moral support to the bandh, they would not be on strike.

Public and private banks will be shut Wednesday and Thursday, Maharashtra Pharmacist Welfare Association has appealed to pharmacists to not participate in the strike.

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