West Bengal paralysed due to shutdown

September 20th, 2012 - 1:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS) Life virtually came to a standstill in West Bengal Thursday due to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s shutdown call and the Left-sponsored general strike in the state.

Rail and road communication was disrupted, business establishments were mostly closed and offices recorded thin attendance in response to the nationwide shutdown.

Suburban train services were hit with opposition activists squatting on the railway tracks in various stations under Eastern and South Eastern Railways. However, several long distance trains plied, though after inordinate delays.

Streets in Kolkata wore a deserted look, as people generally preferred to stay indoors. Private bus services and taxis were almost non-existent, though a few government-run buses could be seen on the roads.

The Kolkata Metro Railway services were normal, but a spokesperson said there were very few commuters.

Flight movement at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was also normal. Some of the airlines combined a few flights to same destinations.

Offices recorded thin attendance, shops and market places either remained closed or were open in only a few pockets of the state.

Police rounded up a few hundred shutdown and strike supporters at different places in the state for picketing, and trying to obstruct traffic.

There were reports from the city and the districts of clashes between supporters of ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition, though police did not confirm these.

City Police Joint Commissioner Jawed Shamim said the situation was “peaceful”.

“We have made some arrests of political activists for blocking roads, and for picketing. But there has been no major incident,” he said.

Led by its chairman Biman Bose and leader of opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra, the Left Front took out a large procession from central Kolkata’s Moulali to Mallickbazar.

“People have supported this strike spontaneously to protect their own future. If the government does not roll back its decisions, there will be a bigger movement in the coming days,” Bose said.

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