Public-sector banks and many government offices were shut on Thursday on the second day of a general strike called by 11 trade unions pressing their demands and to protest against the ‘government’s pro-market reforms’.
The bank employees, under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions Indore, took out a rally and held demonstration in front of the divisional commissioner office. Later, they handed over a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to the deputy commissioner.
“On the second day also, no operations were conducted in 5,797 bank branches in Madhya Pradesh, including 385 branches in Indore of 26 public sector banks, 11 private sector banks and eight foreign banks and rural banks,” a release issued by the bank union stated. Certain private sector banks including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank were functional and foreign banks such as HSBC and Citibank also remained open.
Banking operations were ‘badly hit’ in Indore due to the two- day nationwide called by Central trade unions. In Indore the clearing house operation is managed by the State Bank of India, where the strike was total along with the other nationalised banks, said Alok Khare, general secretary, MP Bank Officers’ Association.
Most of the shopkeepers in Sarafa, the gold market of Indore, who daily deposit cash in banks were saddled with cash that they were forced to keep in their safes.
Apart from banks, work came to a standstill in 42 post offices and 35 branches of Life Insurance and general insurance companies as the employees did not turn up for work.
While ATMs remained functional, people who wanted to withdraw large amount of cash were hit. Similarly, people who had to transfer funds also faced inconvenience as no transaction took place and the check clearing operations remained suspended for the second day in a row. However, internet banking reduced the impact of the strike to some extent.