|Left activists block NH 28A with heavy vehicles in Raxaul
on Thursday. Picture by Jai Prakash
Feb. 21: The 48-hour nationwide strike called by various central trade unions affected life across the state on the second day today with transport and financial services suffering the most.
Bandh enforces staged a blockade on National Highway-28A in Raxaul along the India-Nepal frontier, around 210km north of Patna, for several hours, disrupting movement of cargo and goods carriers to the Himalayan country.
In Motihari, trade union activists, mostly owing allegiance to the CPI and the CPM, staged blockades for nearly half-an-hour near Balua Chowk. The Muzaffarpur-Bandra Awadh Express was stopped at Bettiah for some time. Banks, ATMs, and post offices remained closed because of the bandh called in protest against the economic policies of the Centre. R.P. Singh, a resident of Bairiya in Muzaffarpur, said: “Shutters of most ATMs in the town were down. The ones that were had ran dry of currency notes.”
The situation in Purnea was similar. Sumit Kumar, a resident of Rambag, said: “Shops remained open but there was hardly any business transaction, as banks and ATMs were closed. Traffic remained normal in the town.”
Protesters disrupted movement of dozens of trains in various sections of the East Central Railway (ECR) since morning. ECR chief public relations officer Amitabh Prabhakar said services resumed after the protesters were persuaded to clear the tracks.
Divisional commercial manager of Katihar rail division Rajiv Kumar Jha, said: “The strike triggered an acute shortage of labourers, affecting unloading of goods in Kishanganj, Dalkola and Katihar.” Some shops in Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Purnea and Katihar, which were forcefully closed by bandh supporters yesterday, stayed open today. A group of bandh enforcers forced traders at Sah market in Bhagalpur to down shutters. Over 12 people suffered injuries in stone pelting.
“Over one lakh trucks remained stranded on various roads in support of the bandh,” All India Truck Owners’ Association chief Bhanu Singh said.