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NOT FULLY BANDH

Jharkhandis proved to be more immune to bandh blackmail than Noida on Wednesday, the first day of the two-day all-India nationwide strike called by central trade unions against inflation, with business almost as usual barring isolated industrial hubs in Adityapur, collieries and Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd in Bokaro.

Capital

Banks, insurance and post offices stayed shut. Though the United Forum of Bank Unions strong-armed employees away from work, customers were not affected as ATMs functioned normally. The strike is likely to pinch residents on Thursday if ATMs run out of cash. Schools, colleges and commercial establishments, including eateries stayed open. State government offices, secretariats at Project Building and Nepal House functioned normally. “All employees have come to work. No one seems absent,” said a Project Building clerk.

But, at PSU offices and units — HEC, SAIL, CCL, BCCL, CMPDI and Mecon, among others — attendance was thin.

Road, rail and air traffic was unaffected. No major untoward incident was reported from 6am onwards, when 11 central unions started their strike. The only unusual sight? Hundreds of CPI and CPM workers took out protest marches throughout the city to drum up support for the bandh.

“We allowed markets to stay open for the convenience of people. Our fight is against the Centre’s lopsided economic policies,” said Bhubaneshwar Mehta CPI state secretary.

Bandh byte: “I didn’t feel the bandh. Autos were plying normally. I commuted from Doranda to Lalpur via public transport for work,” said telecom executive Dinesh Kumar

steel city

Adityapur industrial clusters were shut, so were 240-odd branches of both public and private banks and other financial institutions, but Jamshedpur lived, worked and partied normally.

The bad news first. Members of United Forum of Bank Unions staged a dharna demanding their 10-point charter. The Jamshedpur division of LIC which covers twin Singhbhums and Seraikela-Kharsawan, kept shut 20 branches and 10 satellite units, losing Rs 1.5 crore of business. All 46 post offices were shut, with East Singhbhum alone losing Rs 6 crore. Most of the 750-odd Adityapur units were shut, bleeding Rs 70-80 crore.

The good news was that the aam admi did not cower. Educational institutions, hotels, restaurants, shops and business establishments were open, public transport was normal and industry majors like Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Lafarge were unaffected.

Bandh byte: “It was just like any other day for me. After office, I went out with my family to shop at Kamani Centre and dined out at The Host,” said Tinplate executive Uday Prakash


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