Strike evokes mixed response on Day 2

New Delhi, Jan 9: The two-day strike by central trade unions evoked mixed response across the country Wednesday, as it entered its second day, with banking and transport services being affected partially and few incidents of violence seen in West Bengal.

                 As many as 10 central trade unions, except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, are protesting against the government’s alleged anti-labour policies and unilateral labour reforms. They had given a call for a two-day Bharat Bandh on January 8 and 9.

                 Normal life was affected in Goa on Wednesday as private buses and tourist taxis remained off roads. Long queues of passengers were seen at various bus stands after the private buses association in the state shut operations.

                 Besides, lakhs of commuters in Mumbai continued to face hardships as an indefinite strike called by BEST, the city’s civic transport undertaking, continued. There were only five buses plying on city roads.

                 Over 32,000 BEST employees went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday over various demands, including higher salaries.

                 Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the West Bengal on Wednesday too. Stones were pelted at school buses in Howrah district. Similar incident were reported on Tuesday as well. There were similar incidents of stone pelting in other parts of the state too.

                 Banking services were also partially affected for the second day, as a section of PSU bank employees came in support of the strike call.

                 All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees’ Federation of India (BEFI) have supported the strike, which has impacted banking operation where these two unions are strong.

                 However, the operation in SBI and private sector banks remained unaffected as other seven unions in the banking sector are not part of the strike.

                In many places in Kerala, shops and commercial establishments remained shut. Buses and auto-rickshaws were also off the roads in the state. Many shopkeepers alleged that they were asked to put down their shutters.

                 Most of the textile and spices shops in the Broadway Market in Kochi and Mittayi Theruvu (sweet street) in Kozhikode were open.

                 Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from the strike.

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