This is a discussion on Transport West Bengal within the Product And Services forums, part of the Miscellaneous category; West Bengal was paralysed Monday by a 24-hour transport shutdown called by a Left-backed union demanding a rollback in the ...
West Bengal was paralysed Monday by a 24-hour transport shutdown called by a Left-backed union demanding a rollback in the fuel price hike announced by the central government.
The shutdown called by the West Bengal Road Transport Workers' Federation brought transport to a grinding halt in Kolkata, Siliguri in north Bengal, the industrial town of Asansol in Burdwan district and most parts of the state.
The federation is affiliated to the Left-backed Centre for Indian Trade Unions.
Police said that despite some reports of forcible interception of vehicles, no major untoward incident was reported from the state.
Though the shutdown was against the increase in petrol and diesel prices - by Rs.2.50 and Rs.2 respectively - announced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, it virtually led to a general strike in the state.
"The strike has been successful and spontaneous. We did not resort to any force or picketing to enforce it," claimed CITU state president Shymal Chakraborty.
Private and state buses, trams, taxis and auto-rickshaws remained off the road. Most schools and colleges observed an undeclared holiday across the state.
Admission tests in some universities were also cancelled.
Besides Kolkata, the shutdown evoked full response in Siliguri where no private vehicle or North Bengal Road Transport Corporation bus plied.
All hotels in Siliguri - a gateway to hill resorts like Darjeeling - charged high room rent from stranded tourists.
In Kolkata, the metro railway was the only lifeline for many commuters. Office-goers were seen getting out of metro stations and scrambling for pool rides in the few cars on the roads.
Some taxis affiliated to the rival Progressive Taximen's Union plied.
Asked about the inconvenience to commuters, West Bengal Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty said: "If any one wants to work Monday, let him walk to office."
Passengers of long-distance trains that terminated at Howrah or Sealdah stations had a harrowing time trying to find transport.
"This shutdown has no meaning except for causing inconvenience to the people. It cannot ensure a rollback in fuel prices," said an agitated rail passenger at the Howrah station taxi stand.
Air passengers too had a tough time reaching the airport.
Throughout the day, Left leaders were busy mobilising public opinion in favour of the shutdown.
The Left has, however, decided to keep Bengal out of the purview of the nationwide transport stir planned by its trade unions on the fuel price hike Tuesday.