Shutdown called by trade unions cripples life in West Bengal

August 20th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 20 (IANS) About 80 flights were postponed and rail and road traffic were disrupted in West Bengal Wednesday following a 24-hour shutdown called by Leftist trade unions against inflation, price rise and the other economic policies of the central government.”All flights scheduled before the shutdown took off. But the 80-odd flights scheduled within the shutdown tenure have been postponed till tomorrow (Thursday). We have informed passengers earlier so that they don’t have to face any harassment,” Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport director V.K. Monga told IANS here.

Kolkata’s two important railway stations - Howrah and Sealdah - were deserted from early morning.

A senior railway employee said: “All long-distance trains from Howrah station have been cancelled. Three trains - Jagannath Express, Howrah-Mumbai Mail and Guwahati-Bangalore Express - have halted at Kharagpur station.”

Suburban train services across the Eastern and South-Eastern railways in the state also came to a halt due to blockades at different stations while the metro railway operated irregularly with the agitators picketing outside the metro stations.

The state’s industrial hubs at Howrah, Bankura, Malda, Murshidabad and Bardhaman districts as well as the tea gardens in its northern districts remained closed.

Even the Information Technology (IT) sector at Salt Lake in north-eastern Kolkata was affected.

There were few private vehicles on the roads here. Buses, whether run by the government or private firms, stopped plying.

Communist supporters of the shutdown reportedly stopped private vehicles at some places in the city and dragged passengers out of taxis.

Markets and business establishments also remained closed.

Schools and colleges had been given an unofficial holiday across the state.

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