The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Railway joins bandh pay cut

Calcutta, Nov. 21: The second in the string of three bandhs is expected to pass as a near-normal working day tomorrow with almost all schools, business centres, shopping malls remaining open, transport operators willing to ply their vehicles and the railway threatening to cut salary of truant employees.

The CPI-ML (Liberation) has called a dawn-to-dusk bandh to protest against the rise in petroleum prices. The SUCI shutdown passed on November 17 and the Trinamul Congress has called another one on the same issue on December 3.

The railways' circular on Monday's bandh differed from that of Writers' Buildings, which avoided the subject of pay-cut and said its employees would have to apply for leave. The government had threatened salary deduction for the SUCI bandh under pressure from the high court.

Transport operators said buses and taxis will ply as usual. The government will press into service its additional fleet. Educational institutions, business centres, the IT sector, shopping malls and petrol pumps are expected to function as usual. Only a few schools have declared a holiday.

All examinations will be held at Calcutta University according to schedule.

Contract carriages will ply normally, said Himadri Ganguly, the general secretary of the West Bengal Contract Carriage Owners' And Operators' Association.

'People will attend office as usual rejecting tomorrow's bandh,' said CPM secretary Anil Biswas.

Railway authorities are taking measures to keep suburban and long-distance services normal. Airlines will operate their flights normally.

Chayan Mukherjee, inspector-general of police, law and order, tonight said: 'Any attempt to disturb normal life will be dealt with firmly.'

Unfazed, CPI-ML (Liberation) state secretary Kartik Pal claimed the bandh would be total. 'We are not even sparing the IT sector and there will be total bandh,' he said, adding that party workers would be on roads since morning to enforce the strike.

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