Issues behind the strike genuine but we do not support 'bandh' culture: Mamata
Kolkata: Extending support on the issues on which the all India strike was called, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her government continues to stand against bandh.
"It was since 2011 we are taking steps to ensure that bandh becomes a matter of the past in the state. But yes the issues behind the strike are genuine as the Centre is selling out everything starting from railways to PSUs," Banerjee said.
Except for a few stray incidents, the nationwide strike called by the central trade unions has passed of peacefully on Thursday. All then state government offices were seen functioning normally as per the Covid protocols. On Thursday a group of SFI activists put up a blockade in front of Jadavpur University. A group of strike supporters obstructed traffic movement at Moulali crossing as well. Congress workers and supporters put up a blockade at Rajabazar crossing on APC Road as well. In the afternoon, passengers of a bus parked at the Barasat Chapadali bus terminus were forced to deboard and the strike supporters locked the bus. When few bus owners protested a minor clash took place.
Suburban train services were partially disrupted in the Eastern Railway's Sealdah Division after bandh supporters put up banana leaves on the overhead wires on Thursday. A ticket counter at the Howrah station was also vandalized as bandh supporters tried to enforce the strike. At Madhyamgram railway station strike supporters pelted stones at a suburban train while it was passing through the area. At Dum Dum, Chandi Chowk and Central metro station, people in favour of the strike demonstrated. Though the demonstrators tried to enter the metro railway stations, police ensured that no one other than passengers enter the premises.
In New Town, strike supporters burnt tyres and put up a blockade early on Thursday morning. Though ferry services functioned normally, number of passengers was a bit less on Thursday. In Baruipur, passengers of a local train compelled the strike supporters to withdraw the blockade as they were getting late for work.
Police across the state had detained several strike supporters. In Kolkata around 140 strike supporters were arrested for allegedly trying to obstruct normal movement of vehicles. Meanwhile, the state Transport department ran 300 additional buses to ensure commuters are not inconvenienced due to bandh on Thursday.
According to sources, the West Bengal Transport Department operated more than 1,500 buses across the city. On a normal day, the corporation runs over 1,200 buses.
South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) and North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) plied 1,500 buses. Kolkata Metro services operated as usual. "Some groups were demonstrating outside Dumdum, Chandni Chowk and Central stations but were not allowed to enter the metro premises. There have been no disruptions in Metro services anywhere," said Indrani Banerjee, chief public relations officer of Kolkata Metro Railway.