Millennium Post

Ignore shutdown call, Bengal minister to traders

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Sunday urged traders and businessmen not to support a call for two-day strike this week by unions and keep their shops and establishments open.

Central trade unions have called for a country-wide shutdown on 20-21 February to protest the central government’s inaction in curbing rising prices.

Speaking at the West Bengal Trade Convention, Mitra urged traders to lead Bengal to change its ‘culture of strike’.

‘If you do not lead the state to oppose the strike, it will be a tragic day,’ he said.

‘Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said we would oppose strike. In a one-day strike, the GSDP (gross state domestic product) loss is Rs.1,507 crore. That is why she asked government employees to come to office on days of strike. This is a tectonic revolution,’ he said.

Mitra said work culture was being restored in the state and loss of man-days has also come down.

‘In the current fiscal, it (man-days) is 5,222. That is why I appeal to traders and businessmen to keep their establishments and shops open. I urge them to join hands with us to fight the strike,’ he said.

‘If shops remain open, people will find courage. People will be out on the streets, which will foil the strike. Thus, you (should) take a little bit of risk,’ he said.
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