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Always the loser, life hits back at bandh

Jan. 10: Another bandh came and went. And, as usual, it was holiday for some. But by the shutdown standards Bengal has set for itself, this wasn’t like one of those days — cricket on the roads, flattened tyres and an absolute no-show at workplace.

The 12-hour bandh sponsored by the Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) and backed by the Trinamul Congress and the Congress appeared defeated with near normality prevailing in large parts of Calcutta and most of the districts.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere and attendance at Writers’ Buildings and other government offices was by and large normal.

“The day was like any other working day,” said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

One of the biggest rebuffs to the bandh, which Mamata Banerjee had “actively supported”, came from her party colleague. The mayor of Calcutta, Subrata Mukherjee, attended office.

The chilly spell kept children away from schools more than the shutdown. The fear associated with past bandhs that impelled parents to keep their children home-bound was not there. Examinations were held in Calcutta University without hitch.

While shops were open in most parts, pockets in central Calcutta were shut and traffic was thin in the morning. In some routes, there were fewer private buses.

Barring a few attempts by bandh supporters to disrupt movement, the transport system was normal, said Chayan Mukherjee, the inspector-general in charge of law and order. Trains plied as usual.

In all, 104 people, including 101 PDS supporters, were arrested for putting up blocks and obstructing trains.

Burdwan felt the impact of a bandh called by the BJP to protest the killing of a party member in Bhatar on January 5. Buses were off roads and shops shut.

Claiming success, PDS president Saifuddin Chowdhury expressed gratitude to Trinamul, the Congress and the other parties that backed the bandh.

“Today’s was a silent protest against the government’s indifference towards the popular demands we have made in support of the bandh. Though we had not organised blockades or held demonstrations, thousands of our supporters were arrested by the police,” said Chowdhury.

CPM politburo member and Left Front chairman Biman Bose said: “There were some people who did not attend offices and factories but were in Digha enjoying a vacation as Saturday and Sunday are holidays.”

Truckers’ strike

An indefinite truckers’ strike, which started today, had partial effect on major markets in the city and the districts.

Truckers’ lobbies said the real impact will be felt from tomorrow. Supply of essentials across the state is likely to be affected by the strike.

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