Workers, farmers and employees' unions have criticised the UPA government's decision to allow foreign direct investment in retail sector, calling it anti-people, unwanted and illogical.
These unions have decided to support the proposed nationwide bandh called by major Opposition parties on September 20. Jamhuri Kisan Sabha (Punjab) has called for a statewide bandh on October 5.
"For a long time, we had been pressing for economic relief for farmers who are deep in debt," Kulwant Singh Sandhu, state general secretary of the Sabha said. "But instead of giving a breather, the union government has added to their woes by imposing FDI in retail sector."
"Our allied groups blocked rail traffic for three hours at 17 places on September 5," Sandhu said. "That was only a symbolic protest. Now, we have decided to observe Punjab Bandh on October 5."
"Instead of improving the public distribution system to benefit common man, the government has decided to introduce a system that will benefit only multinational retail companies," he said. "The interests of the small shopkeepers have been ignored."
Gurnam Singh Daaud, general secretary of Dihati Mazdur Sabha, said in a press release, "Our organisation will wholeheartedly support the strike on September 20. We will burn the effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."
"The state government has introduced fresh taxes," Daaud said. "It has been learnt that the Dhindsa-Mittal committee has proposed taxes worth Rs 9,000 crore."
Punjab Bhatha Labour Union held a protest rally at Desh Bhagat Yadgari Hall on Tuesday.
"Irrational government policies have forced the closure of brick kilns in the state," general secretary Shiv Kumar said. "The lives of hundreds of workers and their families have been put to stake by the government's decision. If the government fails to reopen the brick kilns, we will stage protests at all district headquarters from October 1 onwards."