JVM supporters take out a torchlight rally in Ranchi on Wednesday to support NDA’s Bharat Bandh on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Most schools and colleges as well as almost all shops and transport services will be closed on Thursday, as BJP and allies in Jharkhand prepare to throw their weight behind the daylong Bharat Bandh called by NDA to protest against the Centre’s FDI policy and diesel price hike.
In Ranchi, banks will stay open, but in Jamshedpur, Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce said it would enforce a shutdown. Though normal life will be paralysed, the state administration promised to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control. “Let it not be misunderstood that the government will be lenient to bandh supporters from the ruling party,” said home secretary J.B.Tubid.
Trains & flights
Railway services may be hit as some BJP workers have decided to stop trains at Ranchi and Hatia stations in the state capital. District BJP president Gama Singh said that workers would assemble from different parts of the district at Albert Ekka Chowk by 9.30am and head for the stations.
Flights won’t be disturbed, said state BJP spokesperson Pradeep Sinha.
But officials hoped bandh enforcers would allow passengers to reach the airport. “Our flight schedules are normal but passengers have to ensure their safe arrival to the airport,” said an airline official in Ranchi, his view echoed by his Jamshedpur counterpart.
In Jamshedpur, JVM workers will target Tatanagar, said central secretary of the party Abhay Singh. Tata-Howrah Steel Superfast Express, Tata-Danapur Express and Puri-New Delhi Purushottam Superfast Express are likely to be hit. South Eastern Railway divisional commercial manager B.N. Singh said trains would run according to schedule and they would decide on alternatives in case of a disruption.
Jharkhand Bus Owners’ Association president Krishna Mohan Singh supported the bandh. “Around 3,000 interstate and intrastate buses will go off the road to protest against diesel price hike,” he said.
Jharkhand Truck Owners’ Association president Uday Shanker Ojha said 50,000 goods carriers, including big and small trucks, would go off the roads for 24 hours from midnight. “For the first time in Independent India, we are seeing a Rs 5 jump in diesel prices at one go,” he said.
In Jamshedpur, members of Shikshit Berozgar Tempo Chalak Sangh added that no autos would ply on city roads.
In Bokaro and Dhanbad, streets are likely to be deserted.
“All five lakh shops across the state will be closed in protest. Businessmen will incur a loss of around Rs 50 crore on Thursday but the bandh is necessary,” said Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) president Ranjit Tibrewal in Ranchi.
Traders of Jamshedpur are firmly supporting the bandh. Jamshedpur Jewellers’ Association, Jamshedpur Mobile Dealers’ Association would also extend support. The traders confirmed that markets would stay closed.
In Ranchi, banks will stay open, but how many people manage to reach in the absence of transport is open to question. Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which held a torchlight rally on Wednesday evening, would gun for shops and banks.
Schools, even those in the middle of half-yearly exams, have rescheduled dates.
In the capital, principal J. Mohanty of Delhi Public School said they had decided to postpone Thursday’s exam to September 21, while his Kairali School and Oxford Public School counterparts Rajan Verghese and C.J. Jacob said they decided on October 1 as an alternative date. Principals of DAV Kapildev Public School and Surendranath Centenary, M.K. Sinha and Samita Sinha announced closure.
In Jamshedpur, too, schools are following suit, though many are asking teachers to report for duty. Loyola School, Carmel Junior College, JH Tarapore School, Dayanand Public School, Gulmohur High School, Little Flower School, ADLS Sunshine School, DBMS English School, Tagore Academy, Motilal Nehru Public School and Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kerala Public School (all branches) and many others will stay closed.
In Dhanbad and Bokaro, schools will stay closed.
Ranchi University will officially stay open.
Across twin Singhbhums and Seraikela-Kharsawan, Kolhan University rescheduled its Part I exam in arts, commerce and science streams to September 21.
In Dhanbad and Bokaro, Vinoba Bhave University is proving to be an exception, officially keeping affiliated colleges open. Till the time of the report, the varsity had stated that postgraduate exams on Thursday would be held.
Police across the state have been asked to stay alert. Police spokesperson and DIG (personnel) Richard Lakra said proper direction had been given to all the districts to prevent people from taking law in their hands.
SSP Ranchi Saket Kumar Singh supported Lakra. “We have deputed extra personnel and magistrates at strategic locations.”
Do you support the bandh as a form of protest?