Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed her joy and praised the people of West Bengal for defying the bandh called by Left backed trade unions. The CM also announced a day of extra holiday for state government employees who worked today defying the bandh.
The country-wide strike called by central trade unions did not have much impact in West Bengal till late morning hours as transport services functioned normally.
Government buses and other private vehicles were operating normally on the roads, officials said. Train services at Sealdah and Howrah sections, and Metro Rail services were also as usual. However, the rush of passengers was less. “So far, there has been no major incidents, except a few small incidents in some districts,” said a senior police official.
In Kolkata, seven persons were arrested for trying to enforce the strike forcefully. CITU-led Left trade unions claimed that the strike is going on peacefully and accused Trinamool Congress (TMC) of trying to incite violence at some places. “The people of the state have willingly participated in the strike. In most of the places it is peaceful but in certain areas TMC is using its muscle power to break the strike,” CITU State President Shyamal Chakraborty said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said while leaving for Italy, “The strike will be a complete failure in the state. I will be monitoring the entire work personally. Even though I will be out of the state but I will monitor the situation. My appeal to everybody is to reject the strike for the development of the state.”
The ruling TMC, which is opposing the strike, is celebrating Singur Divas throughout the state in order to counter the strike today. “The people of Bengal have already rejected this obsolete strike culture. People are busy celebrating Singur Divas,” TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said.
Banerjee yesterday said there will be no ‘bandh’ in the state and warned of strong action against those who disrupt public life. Banerjee said her government is also planning to introduce a new law under which those who ransack and damage property during ‘bandh’ will have to pay compensation.
The Left Trade unions, however, challenged the government to foil the strike and accused TMC of planning to incite violence in the state in the garb of observing ‘Singur Divas’. To protest against the government’s “indifference” to their demands for better wages and facilities and the “anti-worker” changes in labour laws, all major central trade unions, excluding RSS-associated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, have joined the strike call.