Alipurduar, July 24: The CPM seemed to have failed in its effort to foil the 12-hour strike called by the SUCI in Alipurduar and Kalchini today.
With educational institutions, banks and even government offices remaining closed, roads in the town stayed deserted, except for a few government buses. A large police force was deployed in the town in order to avoid any untoward incident.
Though a few protesters tried to stage a demonstration in front of the office of the subdivisional officer (SDO), they were soon driven away. Thirty-seven SUCI activists were arrested.
The SUCI had called the bandh to protest against the failure of the health department to control the spate of malaria in the area. The lathicharge on their activists during a road block was another reason behind the strike.
The CPM tried its best to dissuade residents from supporting the strike ' party workers even took out processions against the bandh yesterday. Their effort, however, fell through as shops, even those near their party office, remained close.
'With the health department not chalking out any concrete plan, the death toll due to malaria is increasing every day. Our protest was against the department's incompetence,' said Avijit Roy, the secretary of Alipurduar local committee of the SUCI. 'The strike was successful.'
Sunil Ghosh, the secretary of the Alipurduar-II zonal committee of the CPM, however, said the bandh was a failure. 'Residents listened to our appeal and went about their work as usual.'
In Siliguri, markets, banks and other commercial establishments remained closed today in response to a 24-hour bandh called by Amra Bangali to protest against the implementation of Sixth Schedule and the transfer of some areas of Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad to the new hill council. The total loss in business due to the strike is expected to cross Rs 20 crore.