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Monday, October 18, 2021

West Bengal: Left blocks roads & rail, but strike impact muted

Normal life in the state remained largely unaffected by the all-India strike. Markets and shops were open as usual while public transport operated almost normally, except for a few impediments.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
September 28, 2021 6:26:46 am
(Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Left Front workers blocked roads and railway tracks in West Bengal on Monday in support of the 10-hour “Bharat Bandh” called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha to mark a year of three controversial agrarian laws receiving presidential assent.

Normal life in the state remained largely unaffected by the all-India strike. Markets and shops were open as usual while public transport operated almost normally, except for a few impediments. Government and private offices registered usual attendance. Educational institutions are shut in the state because of Covid-related restrictions. The ruling Trinamool Congress stayed away from the strike but expressed support for the demands of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.

In the morning, Left leaders organised marches in Kolkata and other cities. Left Front Chairperson Biman Bose and CPI(M) state secretary Suryakanta Mishra marched in Kolkata’s Entally area. CPI(M) members also blocked roads at College Street, Jadavpur, Dharmatala, and Shyambazar five-point crossing but were swiftly removed by the police.

Road blockades were held in most of the major towns and cities in the state, including in the district headquarters of Jalpaiguri, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Medinipur, Hooghly and Cooch Behar. Road blockades were also reported from Domjur in Howrah district, and at the Champadali junction of Barasat in North 24 Parganas.

Left workers blocked railway tracks at Jadavpur in Eastern Railway’s Sealdah division. Reports of rail blockades from the Howrah division also came in.

In Durgapur, a CPI(M) leader was accused of slapping a person who opposed the strike. There were some reports of the strike having an effect in parts of Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district where an ally of the Left won an Assembly seat in this year’s state polls. In Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur district, Congress workers too joined the Left on the streets in support of the “Bharat Bandh”.

In a statement, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha claimed that the strike was a complete success in West Bengal and saw spontaneous mass participation by people.

It said, “The call witnessed unprecedented response from farmers, farmworkers, industrial workers, unorganised sector workers, students, youth, traders, women’s organisations, democratic and rights organisations. Private buses went off the roads. Markets, bazars, banks, colleges and shops remained closed. National Highways were blockaded in at least 24 places.”

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