Normal life was partially affected in the 12-hour general strike in West Bengal, called by the Left front to protest against alleged malpractices by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the recently concluded civic polls.
Though government offices reported normal attendance and Kolkata airport saw regular traffic, large parts of Kolkata wore a deserted look. The usual bustle at Howrah and Sealdah stations was missing. The government said around 90 per cent employees were present in government offices across the city, while in districts the rate of attendance was around 73 per cent.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday appealed to the people to oppose the strike and had issued a circular that government employees who dont report to duty on April 30 will lose the day’s salary. Majority of city schools were closed, but Calcutta university and Rabindra Bharati university conducted pre-scheduled examinations.
Violent clashes were reported from Howrah, Raiganj, Asansol, Jamuria, Birbhum and Siliguri area between TMC workers and supporters of the CPM and the BJP, which had called a separate bandh. Police, deployed across the state in large numbers, had to resort to lathicharge in several areas and over 3,000 strike supporters were arrested.
The 24-hour nationwide transport strike called by Left trade unions alongside the general strike affected transport . While a limited number of government-owned buses were seen plying on the roads, private buses and taxis were few and far.
State buses once again bore the brunt of the strike. Buses were ransacked in several areas across the city. As many as 25 buses were stoned in different parts of the state.
Train services were disrupted in the eastern rail division.
The Kolkata airport saw normal traffic, but lack of taxis outside caused inconvenience to passengers.