Bharat bandh day 1: Banking services, public transport affected

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A joint forum of central trade unions has called for a national strike on March 28-29 to protest against government policies affecting workers, farmers and the population.

The two-day nationwide strike called by a joint forum of central unions began in Kerala on Monday March 28, with almost all institutions shuttered. The joint forum has called for a nationwide strike on March 28-29 to protest government policies affecting workers, farmers and the public.

State-run KSRTC buses did not operate while taxis, auto rickshaws and private buses steered clear of roads across the state. Commercial vehicles, including trucks and lorries, are also not circulating to show solidarity with the strike. However, essential services including milk, newspapers, hospitals, ambulances were not affected.

According to media reports from various parts of the state, some agitators tried to prevent employees of private companies from entering their offices. Meanwhile, the police arranged transportation for those who reached Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station to go to the Regional Cancer Centre.

The two-day strike of the Joint Platform of Trade Union Centrals aims to protest against the central government’s “anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies”. All state and country employee unions except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh are taking part in the protest.

Protesters attempted on Monday morning to prevent some employees from entering Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Kochi. Some employees attempted to enter BPCL premises as the Kerala High Court on Friday banned five unions from taking part in the nationwide strike.

Considering a plea filed by the BPCL challenging the company’s unions joining the protest, Judge Amit Rawal had issued an interim order prohibiting the unions from going on strike in line with their 7 a.m. call on March 28 in 7 a.m. on March 30.

In Tamil Nadu, the two-day nationwide strike called for by various unions had its impact on the public transport sector on Monday, as a large number of buses operated by State Transport Companies (STUs) remained out of service. the road, affecting morning office workers and others in many places. As a result, autorickshaws charged exorbitant fares, complained commuters from different cities.

While many had the option of switching to commuter rail services and Metro Rail in Chennai, this was not the case in other cities in the state and people had to rely on the thin services available from buses and government autorickshaws. The few buses in circulation were packed beyond their capacity.

According to reports, a large number of STU-operated buses remained off the roads, giving morning officers a hard time.

The unions organized a rally in Chennai to put forward their demands. Many autorickshaw drivers also joined the protest.

In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the two-day nationwide strike called by unions against central government policies affected banking services and coal and steel production in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

Protesting against the government’s plan to privatize public sector banks, as well as the Banking Laws Amendment Bill 2021, bank workers have joined the strike affecting services in most public sector banks of the two Telugu states.

Coal production at state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana was hit when employees started working to oppose the Union government’s decision to auction off four blocks of coal .

With the majority of the 42,000 workers taking part in the strike, coal mining has been affected in the 23 underground mines and 19 surface mines.

The main Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) union affiliated to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party supported the strike called by INTUC, AITUC, CITU and other trade union centres. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BSM), however, stays away from the strike.

This is the second strike at the SCCL in less than four months. In December last year, workers went on a three-day strike to oppose the Union Government’s decision to auction off four blocks of coal.

Ministry of Coal is proposing to auction Sattupally Open Pit Block 3 in Khammam District, Sravanpally Open Pit Block 3 in Asifabad District, Koya Gudem Open Pit Block 3 in Bhadradri Kothagudem and Kalyanakhani Underground Block 6 in Mancherial District.

Unions have threatened an indefinite strike if the Union government continues the bidding process for the auction.

The Telangana government also strongly opposes this decision. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the auction of four coal blocks from SCCL.

However, except for the banks and the SCCL, the strike call has not had much impact in Telangana. The impact was not visible in Hyderabad as RTC buses, taxis and auto rickshaws operated as usual.

Various unions, however, have held rallies to protest against Union government policies affecting workers, employees and farmers. Leaders of left-wing parties led the protests.

Rallies were also held in the undivided district of Warangal. In Hanamkonda, TRS leader and chief government whip Vinay Bhaskar gave his support to the workers’ protest.

Trade unions, political parties and student groups have also staged protests in Khammam district to denounce central government policies. The protesters did not allow RTC buses to leave the Khammam bus depot.

In Andhra Pradesh, a shutdown is being seen in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam to protest against the Union government’s decision to privatize the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

Steel production came to a halt when an overwhelming majority of workers joined the strike. Vehicular traffic was disrupted at various locations in and around Visakhapatnam as leaders and workers from all political parties and unions staged a roadblock in support of steel mill workers who had been protesting for more than a year .

The Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee (VUPPC), spearheading the movement against privatization, has called for a strike.

In Vijayawada, hundreds of workers participated in a rally organized by various unions to oppose the Union government’s “anti-labour” policies.

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