The nationwide bandh call given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Left parties against the hike in petrol prices by the Congress-led UPA government had a partial affect in the Tricity today. While protesters stalled two trains at the Mauli Jagran crossing,bus services to Punjab,Himachal Pradesh and some local routes remained affected. The markets were also partially closed for a short period. Amidst heavy police presence,protests were held at a number of places.
BJP leaders climb on locomotive
A group of BJP workers sat on the railway tracks at the Mauli Jagran crossing,stalling two trains. The Himalayan Queen was stalled for 50 minutes while the Kalka Shatabdi remained at the crossing for 20 minutes.
BJP leaders even climbed on the train engine and raised slogans. Senior leader Harmohan Dhawan,along with Anil Dubey and Ramvir Bhatti among others,was present at the spot.
Apart from causing inconvenience to the passengers on the trains,they left people stranded on either side of the crossing.
Bus services,especially to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh,were disrupted. The buses that came from Punjab and left Chandigarh early in the morning could reach their destinations.
Some were not plied after officials received reports about roads being blocked. Others had to abort their journey midway.
Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) officials said that the number of passengers on local routes was reduced drastically from morning till afternoon.
Due to this,the number of buses that plied on the local routes was reduced to almost 50 per cent.
Markets closed,soon re-opened
There was a partial affect on the markets in the city. As BJP leaders went to different markets asking shopkeepers to close the stores. The shops pulled down shutters but re-opened a few hours later.
Senior BJP leader Satya Pal Jain walked through markets in different sectors along with other party leaders as well as councillors. Jain claimed that the BJPs appeal to shopkeepers received tremendous response as the petrol price hike issue concerns everyone.
Cops keep protests under control
There were a number of protests at different places in the Tricity. After touring different markets,BJP-SAD members converged to the Sector 17 market and raised slogans. The Janata Dal (United) held a protest at the Housing Board lightpoint. An effigy of the UPA government was burnt.
The Chandigarh units of the CPI and CPI(M) jointly held a protest at Sector 17 while the Indian National Trade Union Congress,the Congresss labour arm,held a protest at Press Chowk. Members of the BJPs Panchkula unit went to different markets and then converged to the Sector 17-18 roundabout. They stalled traffic for around half an hour. commuters in Sas Nagar suffer
A large number of policemen were deployed to prevent any untoward incident and the bandh passed of peacefully. Bandh supporters blocked the Kharar Mohali-National Highway 21 from 9 am to 11 am,leading to traffic disruptions. However,the woes of commuters did not end here as members of the various truck unions blocked the road for another two hours. The Mohali police diverted traffic coming from the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh from Kurali towards Chandigarh via Mullanpur.
Inside Mohali city,shopkeepers were asked to down their shutters by the protesters and markets of Phases 3B1,7 and 11 were affected by the bandh. The traders,however,opened their shops in the afternoon.