The NDA’s dawn-to-dusk shutdown against the steepest-ever petrol price hike on Thursday would be a “welcome break” from work for most amid the scorcher.
Barring Ring Route bus service, hardly any public transport would be on roads. With nothing to commute, several Patnaites would have to stay back home. (See graphics)
The rest having own vehicles would hardly dare to venture out fearing violence. More so, with all political parties, barring the RJD and the Congress, supporting the strike, directly or tacitly.
Vijay Kumar, a resident of Kankerbagh, said: “I am wondering how will I go to my office in Patliputra. There would be protest march and processions. The political activists will not allow me to ride my bike. Let’s see, what happens tomorrow.”
Buses could come to rescue of Vijay. Kunal Sharma, the chief operations officer of Eden Transport Private Limited, said: “We are hearing that the bandh may turn out to be highly effective, but we have decided that our buses would operate to the full strength.”
Eden Transport runs 50 buses, including eight air-conditioned buses, in the city.
Despite Sharma’s best of efforts, the buses might hit protest hurdle on roads because the BJP and the JD(U) legislators would lead processions early in the morning to support the strike.
BJP MLA from Bankipore Nitin Navin said: “I will lead the protest from 7am onwards. I have appealed to the people of my area to whole-heartedly support the bandh and observe peaceful protest. We have also asked the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed. The party supporters will be active till 5pm. Emergency services will not be disrupted.”
Much before Navin hits the streets, Rashtriya Mahila Brigade would hold rail roko (stall rail movement) programme at Rajendra Nagar Terminus at 5.30am.
Autorickshaws will be off roads right from the morning to 4pm. Patna Zila Auto Chalk Sangh has decided to organise a protest march by dragging their three-wheelers from Patna Junction to Dakbungalow roundabout.
Patna Zila Auto Chalk Sangh president Rajkumar Jha told The Telegraph: “We are supporting the NDA strike and no auto will ply till 4pm.”
Most shops will remain closed as well. Vijay Goenka, who owns an apparel shop near Gandhi Maidan, said: “I am a common man and it is my duty to support the bandh because inflation and price rise have not only affected the middleman but people from all sections. I will keep my shop closed to extend support to the protest.”
Most of the restaurants will not pull up shutters during the strike either. The owner of Nirvana restaurant on Boring Road, Ravi Kumar, said: “The bandh supporters may try to indulge in violence. So it is better to keep the restaurant close till evening.”
Unlike most, fliers are apparently not giving much importance to the bandh.
“We have not observed any trend of cancellation of tickets for Thursday’s flights from the Patna airport,” said Raman Jha, the manager of Super Travels, Patna.
Airlines echoed Jha. “There has been no mass cancellation of tickets for Thursday’s flights,” said an executive of a private airline operating from Patna airport.
Besides the NDA partners the BJP and the JD(U), Left parties also have protest plans on Thursday against the steep petrol price hike. The trade unions will observe the day as Pratirodh Divas.