The day one of the two day general strike called by the trade unions on February 20 and 21 had mixed response across the country. The strike didn't evoke much enthusiasm in West Bengal. In Kerala, Tripura, Bihar and New Delhi it did hit normal life. The government offices recorded very less attendance. Millions of factory and bank employees stayed away from work and public transport was shut down in most big cities after major trade unions called the countrywide strike.
The worst affected was Noida, as the protests took an ugly turn with factory workers targeting vehicles, even setting many on fire. The situation was worst in Noida phase II as protest by over 1000 trade union workers turned violent and vandalised cars, setting many of them on fire. They even broke the windowpanes of a fire tender which went to douse the fire.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) the two day strike will cost the country Rs 26,000 crore .
In West Bengal, where the government had warned employees of action, including break in service, the trade unions said they will seek legal action against it.
“The high court has merely said that strike cannot be enforced forcibly, but the Banerjee government has been maliciously using its name to say that strike has been rendered illegal,” CITU state secretary Shyamal Chakrabarty told reporters here.
Eventhough Mamata Banerjee did keep her promise ensuring sufficient public transport in the city, but there was hardly any takers for the services, making the nationwide strike successful. Attendance in the offices were also marginally low.
While the flight and rail operations remained mostly unaffected, bus services were affected in most of the states.
In Haryana, bus driver Narender Singh, who was the treasurer of AITUC, was killed when he tried to stop a bus which was being taken out from the Ambala Depot despite the strike.
In Noida Phase 2 area, workers clashed with factory owners in a hosiery complex and set ablaze vehicles prompting authorities to deploy PAC in the area. Workers went on a rampage and damaged industrial properties.
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