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Strike against inflation prompts price rise

- Shutdown hampers supply of essential items, closed banks stall transactions

Trade unions’ two-day strike in protest against price rise has jacked up the cost of several commodities in the city.

Fruits like oranges and grapes were dearer on Thursday, the second day of the strike, compared to Tuesday because trucks transporting them from Nashik and Nagpur in Maharashtra and from Punjab could not reach the city because of the shutdown. The vehicles were stopped near the state borders.

Fruit traders also suffered because of the strike. Mohammed Kalam Khan, a fruit wholesaler at Bazaar Samiti, said: “My retail customers from nearby areas like Hajipur, Bihta, Maner and Danapur could not turn up to buy fruits because of the bandh.”

Prices of other commodities also soared because of fewer trucks reaching Transport Nagar. Around 50 trucks carrying essential goods from various parts of the country reached there on Thursday compared to 250 on regular days.

Ranjan Kumar Singh, the manager of Sunil Ramesh Fish Company, said: “Usually, 10 to 12 trucks carrying fish enter the market. But in the past two days, only four trucks have come.”

The dip in fish supply from Andhra Pradesh and Bengal has escalated its price. Rohu and katla, which are mainly supplied from Andhra Pradesh, were sold at Rs 140 per kg. Usually, the price ranges between Rs 100 and Rs 110 per kg.

Besides price rise, people had to bear with road blockades of bandh protagonists and lack of public transport. Protesters choked most of the important thoroughfares of the city. The traffic movement was thin and shopkeepers kept the shutters down on Thursday.

Suspended banking services also gave residents a tough time. Around 2,200 ATMs of various banks across Bihar remained out of bounds for the common man.

“I had to send money to my son in Pune for a very important academic assignment. But I couldn’t deposit the money in his account because of the strike,” Narendra Singh, a resident of Patel Nagar said, adding: “Now, he will have to borrow cash from someone in Pune.”

Over 40,000 bank employees and officers of more than 4,000 branches of various banks of Bihar joined the strike.