Nationwide strike against petrol price rise disrupts normal life

Friday 01 June 2012, 01:18 AM by

The routine flow of the life came to a standstill as the NDA and Left parties called a 12-hour nationwide strike to protest against the recent hike in petrol price. In Allahabad and Patna, the workers of Samajwadi Party and JD (U) disrupted the rail traffic by blocking rail routes.

Around 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis staying off the road, the auto rickshaws unions are also supporting the protest in the national capital. A protest march was conducted by the president of local unit of BJP, Vijender Gupta in Connaught Place asking the shopkeepers in the area to support the strike. Disruption of the ongoing budget session in the assembly is also on the agenda of the party. According to the police, 50,000 policemen along with guards from 35 additional security companies will manage the law and order situation.

As a senior Police officer said, "We want to ensure that every major road has police presence. We are aware of a few protest spots and have the resources to rush in to control any situation. We warn people not to flout the law; those found rioting will be charged with destruction of public property."

According to the state officials, leaving aside rare cases of violence in Thane and Pune, Mumbai witnessed a peaceful start of the shut down. Three buses were torched and about dozens of other buses were pelted with stones in the financial capital of the country. The shut down had been a success in the state so far with public transport being disrupted and the professional life being shut in many parts of the state. On the other hand, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had to suspend its services till this evening, after three incidents of burning buses and stone pelting.

While in Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge, which connects the main city to the Howrah district, was blocked by the protesters. According to police, roads in Chapadali more in Barasat, in Bankura district, Budge Budge and some other places were blocked. There were few reports of attacks on the state-run buses, which decreased the traffic in the city of joy but did not disrupt it.

All the Howrah bound trains reached the destination on time, as per the South-Eastern Railway while the metro services remained unperturbed. Samar Ghosh, Chief Secretary, West Bengal, stated, "All state government offices will remain open and all government officers and employees should report for duty. Government employees will not be granted any leave on May 31.”

State of Orissa also faced halting of railway services as the protesters blocked the tracks at Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack railway stations. According to a senior police official, many parts of the state have witnessed similar protests. However, he said, "There has been no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state so far. The protests have started on a peaceful note." There are two separate protests in process in the state organised by the Left Parties and BJP.

Himachal Pradesh also faced impact of the bandh as 6,000 shop keepers in Shimla opted to keep their shutters down, joining the protest against the price hike led by the ruling party of BJP and CPI-M. Ashok Kapatia, BJP spokesperson, said, "Keeping in mind the onset of tourist season, we have decided not to halt the traffic. Shops and commercial establishments would be closed during the first half of the day (till 1 pm)."