The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scramble after sudden bandh
- Tech town to move in staff before 6 am

Confusion was the key on Sunday, as the city woke up to news of violent clashes in East Midnapore and was given barely a few hours to prepare for yet another Monday bandh.

The fact that the announcement came in the afternoon made matters worse for those keen on a business-as-usual beginning to the week.

“We are making efforts to bring in the people working on critical projects before 6 am. It is getting a bit difficult, because we have to make all the arrangements on a Sunday,” said Siddhartha Mukherjee, vice-president, Cognizant Technology Solutions.

To keep bandh supporters at bay, the state information technology (IT) department is arranging escort car services in the tech hub, besides ramping up police deployment.

But still, the confusion quotient was highest in Sector V, as the 24x7 companies struggled to make transport arrangements to ferry in employees before the bandh hour.

Fearing a backlash from bandh supporters, some transport companies in the city are declining to take assignments on Monday.

“It is extremely inconvenient, but the nature of the job is such that we cannot stop working and have to make arrangements to bring in our employees,” said Suresh Menon of BNKe-Solutions, ruing the bandh culture.

Some companies, however, have taken a conscious decision of not making any special arrangements this time, with the expectation that the urge to work will foil the bandh.

Schools like Birla High are toeing that line and keeping the institute open for students willing to defy the disruption diktat.

“We will put on road more vehicles tomorrow and keep things going,” said state transport minister Subhas Chakraborty. He also requested private vehicle-owners to defy the bandh call.

But despite the assurance, there was no missing the fear factor among a section of Calcuttans. “Given the incident that triggered this bandh call, I am not taking any chances. There can be violence on the roads… I am going to office tonight and will stay there,” said a senior official of a leading IT company.

As the Congress bandh call is for 24 hours, some IT companies are making provisions for overnight accommodation of employees, in case things turn ugly on Monday.

But a majority of business establishments in the city — from malls to multiplexes — is adopting a wait-and-watch approach. “The decision to be open or closed will depend on the situation tomorrow,” said a spokesperson for Pantaloons.

Even the multiplexes in the city will also take a call after 6 pm. “We have got used to bandhs… But there is a change these days, as more and more people are trying to minimise the losses and working out ways to beat the bandh,” summed up a businessman on the eve of another Monday bandh.

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