Members of almost 10 central trade unions across the country have gone on a one-day strike on Wednesday (January 8) in protest against the economic policies of the central government.
Nearly 25 crore people are said to be taking part in the nationwide strike.
Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said members of trade unions including AITUC, INTUC, CITU, AICCTU, CUCC, SEWA and LPF, along with various sectoral independent federations are participating in the nationwide strike.
“We are protesting against rising prices, sale of the public sector (firms), 100 per cent FDI in railways, defence, coal, pharma, animal husbandry, security services, and codification of 44 (central labour) laws,” she said.
Supporting the trade union strike, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government, saying its “anti-people and anti-labour” policies have created catastrophic unemployment in the country.
He alleged that the weakening of PSUs is being done to justify their sale to PM Narendra Modi’s crony capitalists friends.
The Modi-Shah Govt’s anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment & are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi’s crony capitalist friends.
Today, over 25 crore 🇮🇳workers have called for #BharatBandh2020 in protest.
I salute them.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 8, 2020
The demands of the trade unions also include a minimum pension of ₹6,000 for everyone, minimum support price (MSP) for farmers, adequate supply of ration to people, she said, adding that the demands concern both workers and the common man.
In Delhi, Amarjeet Kaur said, workers processions have been planned at industrial areas.
“We are getting reports from all over India. BHEL workers have gone on strike, oil unions are on strike. There is a situation of bandh in north-eastern states, Odisha, Pondicherry, Kerala and Maharashtra. Roadways depos are closed in Haryana,” she said.
In Tamil Nadu, 10 trade unions have called a bandh. Members of these trade unions were seen protesting on Mount road in Chennai.
Similarly, in Kerala, agitators took out a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram.
Road and rail blockades were reported from several parts of West Bengal as trade union activists along with Left and Congress supporters came out to the roads in support of the bandh.
In Kolkata, while government buses plied normally, the movement of private buses was few in the early hours. Traffic and metro services were normal in the city. Heavy deployment of police was seen in the city including Tollygunge, Behala, Esplanade and Jadavpur.
In some areas of north Bengal, the Trinamool Congress took out rallies opposing the strike and urged people to maintain normalcy.
But, a clash erupted allegedly between TMC and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) workers in Burdwan. A bus was vandalised in Cooch Behar during the bandh.
(With inputs from agencies)