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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trade Union strike paralyses life in Bengal

The 24-hour nationwide strike began in West Bengal this morning, paralysing normal life.

Official sources said no untoward incident had so far been reported from anywhere in the state and the strike was peaceful. All shops and markets, educational institutions and commercial establishments remained closed, while factories, coal mines and tea gardens recorded negligible attendance.

No vehicle rolled out on the street and train services from Howrah and Sealdah were severely affected. No flights had taken off from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport so far since morning following cancellation by authorities.

However, near normal functioning was reported from the state's IT hub in Salt Lake Sector Five as the authorities had made prior arrangements for overnight stay of the employees.

The strike was called by the National Platform of Mass Organisations (NPMO), a combine of 56 mass organisations in protest against the "anti-people" policies of the UPA Government and pressing for a 16-point charter of demands.

CPI(M)'s frontal wing CITU, a major constituent of the NPMO, worked overtime to make the strike a success with support from the Left Front Government. CITU, however, had claimed that no force would be used to ensure the strike's success by obstructing anybody from joining duty. But UNI car was stopped on the VIP road and the driver was heckled. Police had to intervene to bring the situation under control.

Though Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee ordered all arrangements to ensure that willing people could go to their work places, transport workers in the Government and private did not join duty making it impossible for anybody.

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