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Transporters, traders in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani go on strike after Pandey’s death

Transporter and traders associations in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani observed a strike on Wednesday to protest against the state government over the death of Kathgodam transporter Prakash Pandey

dehradun Updated: Jan 10, 2018 20:58 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,Prakash Pandey,Janta Darbar
Congress workers protesting against the state government in Dehradun on Wednesday, following the death of Haldwani transporter Prakash Pandey.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo.)

Transporter and traders associations in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani observed a strike on Wednesday to protest against the state government over the death of Kathgodam transporter Prakash Pandey.

The transporter had consumed poison and attended ‘Janta Darbar’ at the BJP headquarters on January 6. In a video shot before consuming aluminium phosphide commonly known as ‘Sulphas’, Pandey blamed GST and demonetisation for his financial downfall. Pandey collapsed at the BJP office and died three days later at a private hospital in Dehradun.

Chief minister TS Rawat announced Rs 12 lakh compensation and a contractual job with the government for the tragedy-hit family. But, the family was not placated by the gesture. Pandey’s brother-in-law Umesh Melkani told reporters that the family would not do the funeral unless a government job for a family member and higher compensation was announced.

“His death reflects the clear picture of the saddening status of transporters in Uttarakhand. There are no avenues in business and the state government isn’t doing anything to strengthen it,” transporter association president Preetam Sabbarwal said

Another transporter Shubham alleged only a ‘few chosen’ of their lot, who were close to bureaucrats and administration, got opportunities in the mining business at the cost of the majority. “Mining industry for commoners is a suicide. Only few who give handsome revenue to mediators get the benefit of the business. The remaining transporters are doomed.”

The main opposition Congress party, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the Aam Aadmi Party and various sections of the society burnt effigies of the Trivendra Singh Rawat government to protest the death of the transporter. Congress also took out a candle march to mark their protest.

“Both GST and demonetisation have hampered the lives of the people. Pandey’s death is an example of how these policies are ‘anti-development’,” Congress state president Pritam Singh said.

The ruling BJP requested its detractors not to politicise the tragedy. “Consuming poison was his (Pandey’s) personal decision, and the parties should not politicise the issue,” senior BJP leader Puneet Mittal asserted.

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 20:58 IST