Congress-ruled Punjab sees impact of Bharat Bandh; partial response in Haryana
Reports of partial shutdown of shops and other establishments were received from Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar; farmers blocked rail traffic in Amritsar and MansaUpdated: Jan 08, 2020 16:17 IST
The nationwide shutdown call of trade unions on Wednesday against the Centre’s policies evoked a good response in Punjab as normal life was disrupted, but in Chandigarh and neighbouring Haryana it was mixed amid rain.
There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the states.
The activists of several farmer associations were seen asking traders at several places in Congress-ruled Punjab to keep their shops and business establishments closed to mark the pan-India protest. Reports of partial shutdown of shops and other establishments were received from Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places.
With the state-run roadways unions joining the strike, most buses were off roads in Punjab.
FARMERS BLOCK RAIL TRAFFIC IN AMRITSAR
AMRITSAR: Farmers blocked rail traffic near the station in Amritsar on Wednesday.
Activists of trade unions, Left organisations, student bodies and bank unions demonstrated by raising slogans against the Centre over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Bhandari Bridge in Amritsar but the response to the nationwide strike was partial.
Shops remained open and transport was normal but public sector banks were closed. The situation was similar in adjoining Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Batala and Pathankot, towns of Majha.
TRAFFIC OUT OF GEAR IN SANGRUR, MANSA, BARNALA
MANSA: CPI members joined about 250 protesters and marched towards the Mansa railway station and blocked rail traffic on the Bathinda-Delhi section.
Activists of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee and Left wing outfits blocked roads in Sangrur, Bhawanigarh, Dhuri and Longowal towns.
Anganwadi workers, members of Communist Party of India (CPI), AISF and CITU blocked Barnala, Ludhiana and Delhi roads at Mahavir Chowk in Sangrur.
Farmers gathered at the grain market of Bhawanigarh town and blocked the Sangrur-Chandigarh highway. Farmers and labourers assembled in Longowal and Dhuri towns and blocked traffic.
Farmers also blocked traffic at Sanghera village on the Barnala-Ludhiana highway. Shops and banks were, however, open. PRTC buses were plying with fewer passengers. Barnala bus operators union president Kuldeep Singh said, “Our buses are plying on routes wherever there are enough passengers to meet our diesel costs at least.”
Anganwadi workers, CPI and CITU members held a dharna at Sadar Bazaar in Barnala.
Members of Left outfits blocked traffic outside Sangrur city bus stand.
PROTESTS IN MALWA BUT BUSES PLY NORMALLY
BATHINDA: The bandh call evoked a partial response in south Malwa districts.
State-owned bus services in Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot and Muktsar were plying normally.
State government employees under the aegis of Left-backed trade unions held protests.
Commercial establishments are functioning normally in the region.
Bathinda deputy commissioner B Srinivasan said the administration is on alert as farmer associations may block the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway near Lehra Mohabbat.
The supply of vegetables and fruits in wholesale markets was as usual.
LUDHIANA: The bandh call evoked a partial response with bank employees and anganwadi workers holding a protest at Bharat Nagar Chowk. Markets, however, remained open. Except Punjab Roadways, others bus services, including PRTC, were operational. Members of the Bhagat Singh Auto Union also held a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office. Another protest was held at the Industrial Focal Point area.
STUDENTS PROTEST AT PUNJABI UNIVERSITY
Students and teachers of Punjabi University in Patiala joined the protest and did not allow the rest to enter the campus. The students were accompanied by members of employee unions. They condemned the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
MIXED RESPONSE IN JALANDHAR
Jalandhar witnessed a partial response with 250 Punbus buses off the road but private and PRTC buses plied as usual. Punbus employees protested at the city depot. Daljit Singh, the general secretary of PUNBUS employees union, said: “We are demanding equal pay for equal work as per the Supreme Court guidelines. The Punjab government must abolish contractual system.” Shops, however, remained open across the city. Trade union workers gathered at Desh Bhagat Yaadgari Hall to march to the deputy commissioner’s office. Raghunath Singh, a Central Indian Trade Union member, said: “We are against the Centre’s policies. Revoke CAA.”
PARTIAL STRIKE IN BJP-RULED HARYANA
In Haryana, though a faction of Haryana Roadways had announced to join the strike, public transport services were not affected much, barring a few places, including Sirsa.
Heavy police force was deployed at bus depots to ensure smooth movement of buses, officials said.
Ten central trade unions along with independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last year to go on a nationwide strike on January 8.